Stand your ground: Parents, concerned citizens weigh in on controversial Florida law

ARCADIA, FLa. - The parents of Trayvon Martin attended one of the previous stand your ground task force meetings. And while they were at Tuesday's meeting in DeSoto County, many others came looking for answers.

Debra Peoples drove down from Tampa to Arcadia trying to find out why the stand your ground law didn't apply to her son Chyvas.
"My son was not the aggressor. My son had a right to meet force with force. My son had a right to stand his ground," said Peoples.
Peoples told the task force her son was convicted of manslaughter in 2008 after a fight outside an Ybor City night club. She says he was being robbed and beaten by several gang members when he stabbed and killed one of them.
"Cases like my son, where he was in fear of his life, and similar cases, need to be reexamined, investigated and a hearing held," said Peoples.
In the wake of the Trayvon Martin case, the task force is looking into amending the stand your ground law which some believe is too broad and too open for interpretation.
"The party that dies cannot tell their side of the story. I'm not claiming to have an answer. So my plea here today to ask for a resolution. Be more specific with the stand your ground law or abolish it all together," said Michael Iglesias. He was one of many who addressed the task for in the public forum. 
George Zimmerman was patrolling his Sanford neighborhood when he shot and killed Martin in February.
He was a part of his local crime watch group. The role of those groups was a big part of this meeting.
Should they be armed? Should there be more background checks? There is no uniform policy. But most here agreed they should never confront suspected criminals.
"We discourage that and we allow the residence and we tell them all the time to let the professionals do the job, they have the equipment, the training, the professionalism, to handle that situation. To deal with any suspicious activity or to apprehend any criminal," said Gretchen Lorenzo with the Ft. Myer's Police Department.
Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll is chairing the task force and says it's important to keep tabs on neighborhood watch members who don't understand the rules.
"I think it would healthy for us to keep a data base statewide so individuals names could be placed so if they move, it will be understood for any program that this person is a potential problem."
This task force will continue meeting around the state. They will make a recommendation to the Governor and lawmakers before the legislative session begins next March.
Print this article Back to Top