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

Polititainment

'Madam Secretary' wants an ideal D.C.
CBS’s new show “Madam Secretary” may be inspired by some of the most polarizing and entrenched political figures in Washington D.C., but the showrunners and cast say they want to portray a less polarizing and negative D.C. on screen. POLITICO’s Playbook Lunch on Friday featured show creator Barbara Hall, executive producers Morgan Freeman and Lori […]
Obama praises Joan Rivers

President Obama must really want to maintain his popularity in Hollywood. Why else would he write a letter to Melissa Rivers praising her mother and late comedian Joan Rivers, the same woman who called him gay and his wife a "tranny" in July?

TDS: Biden hasn't been out of the house

"The Daily Show" had some fun Thursday night with the VP's recent double whammy of off-color remarks.

GoT Author to host Democrat Fundraiser
The red fundraiser? In this case, the appropriate color is probably blue. George R.R. Martin, the author of the popular book series “A Song of Ice and Fire” and the inspiration for HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” will host a fundraiser for Sen. Tom Udall (D- N.M.) in early October. According to Udall’s campaign, the event will […]
Jay Carney's son performs at White House

The former White House press secretary and now CNN political commentator tweeted out a photo of his son's band Twenty20 performing at a White House event Monday evening.

White House

Michelle Obama says Americans ‘take for granted’ Obama’s presidency
First Lady Michelle Obama proudly defended her husband during a speech at the opening reception of the Democratic National Committee’s Women’s Leadership Forum, telling the audience that people take her husband “for granted.” “Just think about how different our country looks to children growing up today. Think about how our kids take for granted that a […]
Security breaches prompt more White House security
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Secret Service tightened security outside the White House after an embarrassing breach in which a man with a knife scaled a fence, ran across the lawn and made it all the way inside before agents stopped him. Increased surveillance and more officer patrols are among the measures that Secret Service Director Julia Pierson ordered. […]
He gaffes again! Biden praises disgraced former Senator Bob Packwood

Ranking Joe Biden gaffes is like running down the deck of the Titanic -- in the end it's just a race to the bottom and no one ever wins. And yet the vice president continues to provide more candidates for his greatest hits.

Joe Biden should never be allowed to support a Redskins name change

Imagine for a moment a tied Senate vote urging the Washington Redskins to change their team name. Into the chamber steps Joe Biden.

Gaffetastic vice-president apologizes for slur

Vice-President Joe Biden apologized Wednesday for his use of an ethnic slur in a speech this week.

Congress

House GOP replaces firm handling Obama suit
THE HILL — House Republicans said they’ve hired new counsel to represent them in their lawsuit against President Obama after their previous lawyer backed out of the case over “political pressure.” They inked a contract on Friday with William A. Burck of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart. The New York Times reported that the GOP’s previous attorney, David Rivkin of […]
Convicted felon running for Congress

Edwin W. Edwards recently spent nine years in prison after being convicted for extorting millions of dollars in exchange for riverboat gambling licenses, and now he's running for office.

Rand Paul: Millennials 'aren't as wedded to party'
Sen. Rand Paul (R – Ky.) seems to have the majority of millennials figured out. The presidential hopeful spoke with The Federalist this week about his foreign policy views and the shift toward libertarian views among millennials. “I think the libertarian influence, the libertarian-ish Republican, the libertarian conservatives in many ways is great for the […]
Democrats turn on Debbie Wasserman Schultz
POLITICO – Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is in a behind-the-scenes struggle with the White House, congressional Democrats and Washington insiders who have lost confidence in her as both a unifying leader and reliable party spokesperson at a time when they need her most. Long-simmering doubts about her have reached a peak after two […]
'Finally, we're gonna audit the Fed'

The House passed a bill Wednesday afternoon to audit the Federal Reserve, a long-time crusade of former Rep. Ron Paul and libertarians.