TALLAHASSEE, FL, March 13, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/
-- On Monday, hundreds came to a march and rally held by Rev. Al Sharpton in an effort to protest against Florida's 'Stand Your Ground' laws. In attendance were radio host Tom Joyner, Attorney Benjamin Crump, Congresswoman Corrine Brown, State Rep. Alan Williams, State Sen. Chris Smith, State Sen. Geraldine Thompson, Rev. Jamal Bryant, the parents of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis, and family members of Emmett Till.
There were several speakers at the rally, including Rev. Al Sharpton. "To have laws that tell people that they can shoot first and then ask questions later is a violation of our civil rights," said Sharpton. Rev. Jamal Bryant stated he was giving a 'warning shot' to companies such as Tropicana and Disney. Bryant provided a telephone number for both companies and instructed the audience to call and ask the companies to support a repeal of Florida's stand your ground law. Sharpton did not indicate if he was in support of Bryant's plan or not.
The rally came weeks after Michael Dunn was convicted of attempted murder after killing Jordan Davis for a dispute over loud music. However, Michael Dunn was not convicted of first degree murder, as it was a hung jury on the charge. Since the verdict, the outcry from several organizations has grown against the stand your ground law.
Congresswoman Corrine Brown encouraged people to become more involved in the process and attend the Senate Criminal Justice Committee meeting after the rally. It seems her advice was taken, as the committee room was at capacity and two additional rooms were opened for people to watch on closed circuit tv. However, the number of people that could testify was limited, as stand your ground was not on the agenda. The parents of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis testified, as they were invited by State Sen. Chris Smith. Sen. Smith is the Vice Chair of the committee and is currently working on a fix to the stand your ground law.
Rev. Jamal Bryant stated during his speech at the rally, that he was advised if he was allowed to speak before the committee, they would have to let the NRA speak as well. Although Rev. Bryant did not testify before the committee, he was in attendance along with Congresswoman Corrine Brown, Attorney Benjamin Crump and others who traveled to participate in the rally. Rev. Al Sharpton was not in attendance.
Significant changes to the stand your ground law doesn't seem likely when looking at the recent happenings from the Florida legislative body. Recently, a bill to repeal the law, sponsored by State Rep. Alan Williams, was defeated. State Sen. Jeff Brandes filed a bill to give immunity to those who carry a concealed weapon or firearm during a declared state of emergency. State Rep. Matt Gaetz, Chair of the Criminal Justice Subcommittee, previously stated that he will not change "one dam comma" of the stand your ground law.
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