© 2024 WFSU Public Media
WFSU News · Tallahassee · Panama City · Thomasville
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Bullard Files Bill Changing Stand Your Ground, Upset Zimmerman Won’t Face Fed Charges

News Service of Florida's youtube channel
Sen. Dwight Bullard (D-Miami), a Representative at the time in 2012, talking about showing solidarity for Trayvon Martin by wearing a hoodie.

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.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.