- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition filed a lawsuit recently against Georgia, claiming the state’s “stand your ground” defense gun laws are unevenly applied and harmful to minorities.

The suit, which was filed on Monday, names Gov. Nathan Deal and Attorney General Sam Olens as defendants, The Associated Press reported.

“The act does not account for societal and cultural biases which result in a presumption of criminality (or presumptions of victimization) against certain socio-economic and ethnic groups which result in the unequal allocation of the presumption of the presentation of an eminent threat sufficient to justify the use of deadly force,” the court document stated, AP reported.

The law giving individuals the right to use deadly force if they feel endangered has been in place in Georgia since 2006. But such protections have been under the spotlight since the George Zimmerman-Travyon Martin case in Florida that led to an acquittal of second-degree murder charges. Then — as with this court filing — opponents of the law are decrying what they say its unfair implementation.

Mr. Jackson’s suit cites the different treatment of two different plaintiffs — one white, one black — as proof of the law’s racial undertones.

One case involved a black man, Chris Johsnon, who was shot and killed by a white man, Adam Lee Edmondson, who claimed he was defending his girlfriend. Mr. Edmondson faced murder charges, but was found not guilty, based on his claim of “stand your ground” laws.

Meanwhile, in a different case, Herman Lee Smith III, another black man, was found guilty of murdering another black man, Cardarius Stegall, in August, AP reported. Mr. Smith said he shot Mr. Stegall because he felt threatened — but the jury didn’t find “reasonable belief” that he actually thought his life was in danger and the only way to protect himself was to shoot the man, AP reported.



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