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A crowd of around 60 people came out tonight in Santa Ana, to express their anger over the Trayvon Martin verdict. There are similar marches and protests happening across the U.S. and are expected to continue at least through this weekend. Now that the jury has made their decision, as to “not guilty,” in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin by volunteer Neighborhood Watch captain, George Zimmerman, in Stanford, Florida, protesters are focusing their attention to get the “Stand Your Ground” laws changed. Twenty-two states currently have that law, which allows lethal force to be used if a person feels threatened by another, even if the person doing the shooting starts the altercation. Opponents say this verdict will open the door to many more such shootings.
Genevieve Huizar came to show her support. She is the mother of Manuel Diaz, who was killed by Anaheim Police last year. Police claimed that Diaz reached for his gun and had to use lethal force, but witnesses did not see it that way. No charges have been filed against the officers involved.
Opponents of the law claim that it favors whites over blacks, saying that if Martin were the shooter he would have been arrested at the scene if not shot by police. Neilson Hester, one of the protesters, said, “The Trayvon Martin’s killing is an extension of police brutality even though a volunteer security guard did the shooting. The police department backed Zimmerman up.”
Yesterday in Tampa, Florida a 71 year old Black man was found guilty of manslaughter after shooting his 41 year old white neighbor in self defense. Marissa Alexander of Jacksonville was sentenced to twenty years this week, for defending herself against her allegedly abusive husband, when she fired warning shots inside her home in August 2010. She claimed that the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law should apply to her, but a jury did not see it that way.
Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin have asked for people to remain calm, and so far protests have been peaceful, with only a few problems from some who show up with the intent of causing trouble. There was no police presence at the Santa Ana protest.