Holder warns against ‘stand your ground laws’ in response to Zimmerman verdict

Eric HolderAttorney General Eric Holder spoke out against “Stand Your Ground” laws in his speech in front of the NAACP on Tuesday and strongly implied that racism was a factor in George Zimmerman’s acquittal.

Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which was heavily debated after Trayvon Martin was shot in February 2012, allows one to respond with force when attacked outside of the home. Holder warned that such laws allow for too much violence in the name of self-defense, adding that it is ‘common sense’ to retreat if possible, instead of resorting to force.

“People who feel threatened have a duty to retreat, outside their home, if they can do so safely,” he said. “By allowing — and perhaps encouraging — violent situations to escalate in public, such laws undermine public safety.”

Though the law was not invoked in the Zimmerman trial, it initially prevented police from arresting Zimmerman, and some argued that it contributed to his eventual acquittal.

“The list of resulting tragedies is long and, unfortunately, has victimized too many who are innocent,” Holder said. “It is our collective obligation; we must stand our ground to ensure that our laws reduce violence, and take a hard look at laws that contribute to more violence than they prevent.”

Holder said that protests over Zimmerman’s acquittal have included peaceful people exercising their constitutional right of free speech.

“Across America, diverse groups of citizens, from all races, backgrounds and walks of life, are overwhelmingly making their voices heard — as American citizens have the right to do — through peaceful protests, rallies and vigils designed to inspire responsible debate, not to incite violence and division,” he said.

However, not all protests have been peaceful demonstrations. Zimmerman has received plenty of death threats, and riots have swept through Los Angeles and Oakland, Calif. There was also an incident in Baltimore, Md., in which a group of black youths beat a Hispanic man telling him, “This is for Trayvon.”

Holder sympathized with Martin’s family in his speech and recalled his own personal struggles involving racial issues. He said Martin’s death last year caused him to have a conversation with his 15-year-old son about the issues he may face as a young black man.

The Attorney General confirmed that the Department of Justice is continuing their open investigation into the case, as well as again inferring there was racism in the Zimmerman verdict.

“We must confront the underlying attitudes, the mistaken beliefs and the unfortunate stereotypes that serve too often as the basis for police action and private judgments,” Holder said.

Comments

Biden jokes about his creepy photos

Remember that time Joe Biden got close to Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter’s wife?

The 'Notorious RBG' takes over SNL
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg gives pretty hilarious and biting interviews in real life — “not 100 percent sober” ringing any bells? — but Kate McKinnon’s version of the “Notorious RBG” on Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update” may just take the cake. From jokes about her morning exercise routine to her sexy dreams about […]
Jimmy Kimmel 'censors' Obama

Thanks to some mischievous editing from Jimmy Kimmel, these originally innocent TV clips will put your mind straight in the gutter.

Jon Stewart: Fox News is 'killing' him

As his days on the Daily Show wind down, Jon Stewart wants to make sure we are all aware how much he really, really hates Fox News.

Jay Carney is going to work for Amazon

Imagining an Amazon customer service call with Jay Carney on the line.

White House

Calling for cooperation, Obama engages in confrontation

WASHINGTON (AP) — Amid appeals for bipartisanship, President Barack Obama in just three days has provoked Republicans on issues as disparate as immigration, Wall Street and the Keystone XL pipeline — a combative mix of defense and offense that underscores Washington's political realignment.

It’s on: Obama follows through and vetoes Keystone pipeline

Defying the Republican-run Congress, President Barack Obama rejected a bill Tuesday to approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, wielding his veto power for only the third time in his presidency.

Biden: The middle class is ‘being killed,’ in worse shape than any time since the ’20s

Joe Biden—everyone’s favorite creeper and truth-bomb-dropper.

MSNBC Host: Obama’s terrorism summit is a ‘dog and pony show’
You know it’s bad when President Obama has even lost the support of MSNBC. MSNBC Host Andrea Mitchell basically called the White House’s Summit on “Countering Violent Extremism” a farce during her show Wednesday. “Here he has the summit, no heads of government coming, the participation has not been at a particularly high level. We’ll have […]
Obama assures ‘almost complete confidence’ there have been no NSA abuses

The president’s interview with Re/code over the weekend touched on privacy issues, with Obama insisting with “almost complete confidence” that there have been no abuses of the government’s vast surveillance program.

Congress

Boehner: GOP infighting over 'tactics'
After a week that saw Republican infighting leading to a dramatic near-shutdown situation for the Department of Homeland Security, House Speaker John Boehner was questioned on CBS’s “Face the Nation” about his leadership. Boehner downplayed the divisions and said that it wasn’t the big picture that they disagreed on, but rather how to accomplish it. […]
DCCC fundraises off shutdown that didn't happen
Democrats really jumped the gun on this one. It seems that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was in such a hurry to fundraise over their hatred for Republicans this weekend that they were willing to spread a little misinformation to do so. The DCCC emailed supporters Saturday morning incorrectly saying that Republicans had allowed the Department of […]
Rand Paul calls on Hillary to retire

Rand Paul’s speech at CPAC Friday felt a lot like a campaign rally—and the crowd left little room to doubt that they wanted it that way, breaking out into chants of “President Paul! President Paul!” at least three times over the course of his remarks.

Cruz: Obama, Carter similarities 'uncanny'
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has his sights set on 2016, but he is not very optimistic about what will happen both at home and abroad in the mean time. Cruz laid out his predictions for the direction he believes President Obama is leading the country in during a round table event with reporters and bloggers […]
Cruz calls Lynch vote 'heartbreaking'
Loretta Lynch won approval from a key Senate committee Thursday to serve as the nation’s next attorney general, as divided Republicans clashed over her support for President Barack Obama’s immigration policies. The 12 to 8 vote in the Judiciary Committee sent Lynch’s nomination to the full Senate. Three Republicans joined all committee Democrats in voting “yes.” […]