Death of black teen draws state and federal investigations

Mar 20, 2012

The shooting death of an unarmed black teen in Orlando has sparked national outrage and stirred racial tensions. It’s also brought attention to Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. Lynn Hatter reports even Governor Rick Scott is weighing in.

Seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin was killed last month following a confrontation with volunteer neighborhood watchman, 28-year-old George Zimmerman. Zimmerman says he shot Martin in self-defense. The case has drawn attention to Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” Law, with grants some immunity from prosecution for people who use self-defense to justify a homicide. But Governor Rick Scott says the law is unfair.

“I think every time we see something like that we have to review and make sure we’re not giving people the opportunity to use a law…unfairly. Nobody wants something to happen to a young man like that.”

Scott has called on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to assist in the investigation. State Attorney Norm Wolfinger has announced a grand jury hearing into the case, and the U.S. Department of Justice is launching its own probe into the circumstances surrounding Martin’s death.

Meanwhile,  one of the creators creator of the Florida law implicated in Martin's  death says the shooter shouldn’t be allowed to claim self-defense. Republican State Representative Dennis Baxley says his  “Stand Your Ground” law was never meant for people to pursue others.

“I think if you look at the full scope of circumstances that we’re hearing in this case, the problem is not the castle doctrine. The problem is you have a person pursuing and confronting. And there’s nothing in the statute that provides for that.”

Baxley calls the case “crime-watch out of control” and says the issue is not the law, but the actions of one person. The shooter, George Zimmerman, has not been charged with a crime.