George Zimmerman will not face federal civil rights charges in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, and some state legislators, like Sen. Dwight Bullard (D-Miami), say they're not too happy about Tuesday’s Justice Department’s announcement.
“I’m upset there are no federal charges,” said Bullard. “I think there are a lot of folks that are upset that there are no federal charges being brought against Mr. Zimmerman.”
George Zimmerman was first acquitted of second degree murder in 2013, after saying he shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense during a confrontation in Sanford—sparking many nationwide protests on behalf of the unarmed black teen who died.
“Part of the reason why those charges aren’t there is they kind of just see a destructive path of behavior that they feel will ultimately lead to him being incarcerated somewhere,” added Bullard. “And, my simple statement is if not, you guys, who’s going to do it? And, I’d much rather see justice served now, as opposed to waiting on that one instance where he finally ends up doing some credible time in a correctional institution for some of the ludicrous behavior that he’s been involved in.”
Zimmerman’s acquittal also sparked conversations surrounding Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. That’s why Bullard says he recently filed a bill making changes to the law—similar to bill's he's filed in the past.
“And, so what the bill does is it disallows activities like that,” Bullard stated. “You know, it really cuts at the core of individuals who instigate an interaction that could openly lead to deadly force, and more importantly, does not let them off the hook, if they in fact, use deadly force.”
Bullard says he’s also on board with another bill that would repeal the controversial law—something the National Rifle Association strongly opposes. Meanwhile, while they say they’re disappointed, Trayvon Martin’s family thanked the Justice Department for what they called its “thorough investigation.”
In a statement, U.S. Department of Justice officials said Zimmerman would not face any federal civil rights charges because they lacked proof the killing was racially motivated.
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