Newswise — Sherry Colb, Cornell University professor of law, comments on the high-profile investigation into the shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman.
“The language of the Florida Stand Your Ground law does not seem to me to protect what Zimmerman allegedly did – pursuing a fleeing young man after having notified the police of Zimmerman’s suspicions.
“The language plainly requires that whoever uses deadly force must not only believe that such force is necessary, but must have an objectively reasonable basis for that belief. Furthermore, the fact that a person can stand his ground and not retreat does not seem to support an entitlement to chase another person, as Zimmerman did.
“Self-defense, while a possibility, is not the most plausible account of what had happened between Zimmerman and Martin, despite the fact that Zimmerman told police he had acted in self-defense. Since when is the word of a suspect binding on an investigating police officer?
“From the evidence, it seems more than legitimate for police to have concluded that Zimmerman had unjustifiably killed Martin. They could therefore have arrested him and taken evidence - including a blood/alcohol test - that would have helped investigate the truth of what happened to lead to the tragic results in this case. The fact that police read the law otherwise is reason enough for its amendment.”
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