The Trayvon Martin tragedy is shining a national spotlight on “stand your ground” laws in at least 21 states.
The laws – in places such as Texas, Idaho and Alaska – allow everyday citizens to use deadly force against someone else if they fear for their life. They also say people do not have to retreat if threatened or attacked.
George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman in Sanford, Fla., fatally shot Trayvon as the 17-year-old was walking to his father’s home from a 7-Eleven.
Police have said officers were prohibited from arresting Zimmerman because he claimed to have used “justifiable” force.
By Associated Press, Updated: Thursday, March 22, 7:16 AM
ALLENTOWN, Pa. — Neighborhood watch groups were designed to be the eyes and ears of police — passively observing what they see and reporting back to law enforcement — not to enforce the law themselves.
Most neighborhood watches follow the rules, and confrontations are rare. But after the killing of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in a Florida gated community, criminal justice experts say police departments and watch groups need to make sure volunteers do not take matters into their own hands.
“First thing: You do not engage. Once you see anything, a suspicious activity, you call the number that the police department has given you,” said Chris Tutko, director of the Neighborhood Watch program at the National Sheriffs’ Association, which launched the neighborhood watch concept 40 years ago as a response to rising crime.
Tutko said he was flabbergasted to learn about a watch captain’s shooting of the 17-year-old Martin last month in Sanford, Fla. Civil rights groups have demanded the arrest of the captain, George Zimmerman, who has said he shot Martin in self-defense. The Justice Department has opened a civil rights investigation.
Atlantans head to Florida to protest teen shooting
By Rebekka Schramm
Updated: 42 minutes ago
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ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) – Two charter buses full of metro Atlanta residents left from a southeast Atlanta church early Thursday to head to Sanford, Florida, to protest the shooting death of an unarmed 17-year-old African-American teenager.
They will join thousands of other protesters from around the country for a protest Thursday afternoon.
Civil rights activist Derrick Boazman organized the road trip, which began with a rally inside First Iconium Baptist Church.
“I have not worn a hoodie in 25 or 30 years,” said Boazman. “This morning, I’ve got my hoodie on.”
Trayvon Martin was wearing a hooded sweatshirt when he was shot and killed last month by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who told police he thought Martin was armed. Zimmerman said Martin was acting suspiciously before the two got into a scuffle.
(CBS News) SANFORD, Fla. – Fury over the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin is spreading.
Marchers took to the streets in New York City and Miami Wednesday, demanding the arrest of the shooter, neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman.
And he’s not the only one under fire.
In Manhattan, hundreds demonstrated, seeking justice, they said, for Martin.
The “Million Hoodie March” got its name because Martin was wearing a hoodie on Feb. 28, the night Zimmerman shot him.
Martin’s parents were at the New York protest, surrounded by supporters.
Florida police are under mounting pressure to arrest self-appointed neighbourhood watch volunteer who shot dead an unarmed teenager following dramatic new evidence from the victim’s girlfriend.
The family of Trayvon Martin, 17, say the account from his girlfriend completely contradicts his killer’s self-defence claim.