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

Billy Joel: Obama smoking story 'untrue'

After a report emerged from a source for The Hill newspaper that Joel on a trip to Washington, D.C., claimed that he recently smoked a cigarette with President Obama, the musician is now denying the story.

Pharrell: Brown's actions 'bully-ish'

Musician Pharrell Williams said in a recent Ebony magazine interview that President Obama "should have gone down" to Ferguson to address the situation.

Billy Joel smoked with Obama

According to one of The Hill's sources, Obama invited Billy Joel to have a cigarette with him when the musician made a recent trip to the White House.

Beckham's catch = Obama's executive act

You know it is.

'SNL' remakes Schoolhouse Rock
“Saturday Night Live” hit today’s political process right on the nose during the show’s cold open. Spoofing Schoolhouse Rock’s “I’m Just a Bill,” Kenan Thompson as the bill tried to explain how he becomes a law. But before he can make his way  to President Obama’s desk to be officially signed into law, Obama beats him […]

White House

White House claims Obama is ‘not a media critic’

The White House doesn’t really seem to have a problem contradicting itself, so maybe this latest whopper shouldn’t surprise us.

Obama uses turkey pardoning to joke about his executive action on immigration
This is one executive action President Obama is sure won’t ruffle Republicans’ feathers. In fact, he’s so sure of that fact that he decided to make a joke during the annual turkey pardoning referencing his unprecedented use of executive action to grant amnesty to 5 million illegal immigrants. “I’m here to announce what I’m sure will […]
Poll: Americans split on Obama’s immigration order
Americans are sharply split on their reaction to President Barack Obama’s recent executive actions on immigration that will essentially give amnesty to about five million undocumented immigrants,according to a new poll. The latest Quinnipiac University survey released Tuesday found that 45 percent of voters support the president’s move, while 48 percent opposes it. Support for […]
Eric Holder stresses that federal investigations in Ferguson are not over

Attorney General Eric Holder released a statement Monday night assuring rioters that the Justice Department still has two investigations to complete in Ferguson.

Obama appeals for calm after Ferguson decision

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama appealed for calm and understanding in Ferguson on Monday after a grand jury decided not to indict in the death of Michael Brown, pleading with both residents and police officers to show restraint.

Congress

Pelosi and Obama versus Schumer and America

This is like one of those times a member of a professional wrestling posse turns heel on national television and sets off the drama.

Rand blames 'politicians,' drug war in Ferguson

Sen. Rand Paul’s Time op-ed on Ferguson Tuesday blamed politicians for creating “a culture of violence” through the War on Drugs, and urged Ferguson protesters to “channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change.”

Why are House Members exempt from ethics training?
Two U.S. representatives are questioning a curious practice on the Hill that exempts House Members from ethics training. But it doesn’t look like they are getting much support from their colleagues that enjoy this perk. Reps. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), and Scott Rigell (R-Va.), are urging congressional leaders to end the House exemption on the annual ethics […]
Paul calls for formal declaration of war on ISIS

Sen. Rand Paul wants Congress to formally declare war against ISIS.

The fallout from Boehner not owning a dog

President Obama's offer to smooth over an immigration reform compromise with Speaker John Boehner has turned out to be a case of barking up the nonexistent tree.