Congresswoman Corrine Brown praised the announcement by the United States Commission on Civil Rights of a study on racial bias and Stand Your Ground laws in Florida and elsewhere. As the Commission noted, 'while there are some indicators of racial bias in the triggers and operation of SYG laws, research is scant.' That's why my colleague, Congressman Keith Ellison, and I called on the Department of Justice to do a similar study," Brown said.
"Two cases involving Stand Your Ground in my District that highlight the potential for disparities," Brown commented. "In Sanford, a white man shot a black teenager, Trayvon Martin, and the police considered it a stand your ground case. In Jacksonville, Marissa Alexander, a young black mother fired a warning shot because she feared another attack by her abusive husband and she was not allowed a stand your ground defense. If ever there were a case where stand your ground should apply, it's Marissa Alexander," said the Congresswoman.
USA Today recently reported that "according to data by the FBI, 34% of cases involving a white shooter killing a black person were deemed as a justifiable homicide. Meanwhile, in similar situations, when the shooter was black and the victim was white, the homicide was ruled justifiable only 3.3% of the time." Clearly something is wrong with this picture," said Brown.
"Studies show that these laws do not deter crime and we need to know whether they are making things worse by exposing racial biases in the system. I sincerely hope that Governor Scott's Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection will examine this issue too. "I strongly encourage anyone interested in this issue to attend The Task Force's first public meeting on June 12 at Northland Church in Longwood." See www.flgov.com/citizensafety/ for more details.