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Thursday, Jul 31, 2014
Politics

Zimmerman protesters vow to remain in Capitol


Published:

Protesters at a now three-day sit-in at the Capitol today said they won't leave until their demands for a "Trayvon Martin Civil Rights Act" are heard.

Gov. Rick Scott, who's been traveling this week, has not met with the protesters, known as the Dream Defenders, and his spokespeople have said he will not do so.

The core group, which has fluctuated from 30 to 50 since arriving Tuesday morning, has occupied the governor's reception area and main hallway on the Capitol's plaza level.

Dream Defenders spokesman Steven Pargett says the legislation they seek should:

. Repeal the Stand Your Ground statute, Florida's contentious self-defense law,

. Prohibit racial profiling and mandate law enforcement training to prevent it,

. Repeal zero-tolerance policies in schools that feed the "schools to prisons" pipeline, and

. Promote restorative justice programs for youth.

Also today, state Rep. Alan Williams, a Tallahassee Democrat, and the Rev. R.B. Holmes, vice chairman of Scott's task force on citizen safety and protection, called on the governor Scott to call a special legislative session to review the Stand Your Ground law.

Earlier this week, Scott said the task force had reviewed the law and recommended no changes, and he is not inclined to revisit the issue.

In related news, Trayvon Martin's parents plan to participate in separate vigils Saturday.

Martin's mother and her son, Sybrina Fulton and Jahvaris Fulton, will join Al Sharpton outside New York Police Department headquarters. Martin's father, Tracy Martin, is set to be at a similar event at a federal courthouse in Miami.

Sharpton's National Action Network is planning rallies in 100 cities to press for federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman.

The Justice Department is investigating whether Zimmerman violated Martin's civil rights when he shot the 17-year-old during a February 2012 confrontation in Sanford.

Zimmerman said he fired in self-defense but he did not invoke the Stand Your Ground law at trial. He was acquitted last Saturday of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges.

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