ORLANDO (CBSMiami) – United States Attorney General Eric Holder spoke at the NAACP’s annual convention in Orlando Tuesday and was very critical of the stand your ground laws.
“Separate and apart from the case that has drawn the nation’s attention, it’s time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods,” Holder said.
Such laws, “try to fix something that was never broken,” Holder told the crowd.
“There has always been a legal defense for using deadly force if — and the ‘if’ is important — no safe retreat is available,” Holder told the NAACP. “But we must examine laws that take this further by eliminating the common sense and age-old requirement that people who feel threatened have a duty to retreat, outside their home, if they can do so safely.”
The Justice Department said over the weekend after George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the second-degree murder trial of Trayvon Martin that the Justice Department was investigating the case for any possible civil rights violations.
“We are resolved, as you are, to combat violence involving or directed at young people, to prevent future tragedies and to deal with the underlying attitudes, mistaken beliefs and stereotypes that serve as the basis for these too common incidents,” Holder said during a Monday speech.
Holder has called Trayvon Martin’s death, “tragic” and “unnecessary.”
The White House has taken a hands-off approach with the Justice Department and the investigation, according to spokesman Jay Carney.
“I don’t believe this is something the president views as something he would discuss with the attorney general,” Carney said Monday. “I think the president expressed the fact that it was a tragedy that a young man’s life was taken. That was true then, and it was true today.”
The NAACP started a petition over the weekend that asked the Department of Justice to step in after a Florida jury found Zimmerman not guilty. The petition is said to be nearing 1 million signatures since the verdict came down late Saturday night.
The Reverend Al Sharpton is planning protests at 100 federal courthouses across the nation over the weekend and also want the stand your ground law overturned.
“But the underlying problem with the legislation of stand your ground and the other issues that are surrounding this have rendered us vulnerable to all kinds of attack in this country,” Sharpton said.
Legal experts have said that a federal case is not likely against Zimmerman due to multiple legal hurdles that may not be able to be met for the prosecution to be successful.