On February 5, Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson issued a press release announcing that she is introducing a Congressional Resolution to Honor Trayvon Martin and Seek End to Racial Profiling. The resolution urges the repeal of Stand Your Ground laws.
Congresswoman Wilson made the following statement:
"Today, Trayvon Martin would have celebrated his 18th birthday. We all know the tragic circumstances surrounding his murder: Trayvon was racially profiled, chased, made to fight for his life, and ultimately murdered. Yet we as a nation have yet to take substantive action to stop such a heartbreaking incident from happening again."
Congresswoman Wilson is wrong for several reasons:
1. There is no evidence that George Zimmerman racially profiled Trayvon Martin. Considering many aspects of George's life, not of least of which his mixed ethnic background, the racial diversity that was part of his upbringing, and the advocacy work he did as an adult, the claim that George Zimmerman is a racist is absurd, unfounded, and irresponsible. Moreover, all the information released from the FBI -- which conducted a civil rights investigation on this matter -- demonstrate no evidence of racism at all on the part of George. Rather, it documents the opposite.
2. George has a very strong self-defense case, and we are confident that in Court, George will be found not guilty of murder. As a sitting congresswoman, Representative Wilson should know that in the United States, citizens are constitutionally entitled to a fair trial, and that defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. They are not to be convicted by biased innuendo based upon an intentional ignorance of the facts, tossed about in a pandering way. For a person in a leadership role to ignore these significant principles denigrates the process and the Constitution she swore to uphold.
3. The Zimmerman case is not a "Stand Your Ground" case, it is a straight-forward self-defense case. The controversial part of the so-called "Stand Your Ground" law is the inclusion of language that removes the duty to retreat before using deadly force. George Zimmerman was on his back suffering blows from Trayvon Martin when he fired his weapon in self-defense. George had no opportunity to retreat, and you cannot stand your ground when you are on your back. No one who has taken the time to read and understand this statute would suggest that the facts of this case fit that limited portion of the statute.
Congresswoman Wilson's statement is wildly inappropriate. She must know that her position as a distinguished representative in Congress gives her words weight and credibility, and she should not be promoting such unmeasured bias on a pending, undecided legal case.
If you have an opinion regarding Congresswoman Frederica Wilson's statement, you are entitled to express it by calling her office, sending her a letter, or emailing her South Florida Communications Director.
Rep. Frederica Wilson | FL-24
18425 NW 2nd Ave Suite 355
Miami Gardens, FL 33169