A new public service announcement from the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence uses snippets of actual 911 tapes from the night Trayvon Martin was shot to death to make the case against the “Stand Your Ground” laws, which are still enforced in 26 states, including Florida, where Martin was killed by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman.
“We hope our ‘Stand Your Ground’ PSA will mobilize new activism on the issue and bring us to a point where our laws are acting to protect victims, as opposed to creating new ones,” the group said in a statement.
Robert Zimmerman responded to the video via Twitter by posting bloody images of his brother George from the night of Martin’s death.
— Robert Zimmerman JR (@rzimmermanjr) August 20, 2013
The video features the 911 operator telling Zimmerman that “we don’t need you” to follow Martin. In the re-enactment, the actor playing Zimmerman then feels for his gun, seemingly making the argument that Zimmerman, had he not been armed, wouldn’t have pursued Martin. A key argument made in Zimmerman’s successful defense was that though the former security guard had received self-defense training, he was in no way physically formidable.
“A ‘stand your ground’ law states that a person may use deadly force in self-defense without the duty to retreat when faced with a reasonable perceived threat,” according to USA Today.
Many have argued that the Zimmerman/Martin case had nothing to do with this law. But the judge’s instructions to the jury specifically invoked it:
If George Zimmerman was not engaged in an unlawful activity and was attacked in anyplace where he had a right to be, he had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he reasonably believed that it was necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.