Could the Trayvon Martin case happen here?
Some lawmakers are challenging Florida's "stand your ground" law, calling for a Department of Justice investigation. Arizona has a similar law in place.Photo: Video by kgun9.com
Reporter: Jessica Chapin
TUCSON (KGUN9- TV) - One month after the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, demonstrations are still breaking out across the country. Tucson residents rallied in support Sunday, many questioning the "stand your ground" law that protected his alleged shooter George Zimmerman.
Now, some lawmakers are challenging that law, calling for a Department of Justice investigation. Arizona has a similar law in place, but civil rights and criminal defense attorney Paul Gattone says there is one major difference.
"Here's the issue with Arizona's law," he said, "In Arizona, the ability to retreat would figure into my ability to use self defense because it has to be an imminent threat of this person causing physical harm or death. My ability to get away is going to figure into that, except if I'm in a residential structure or an occupied vehicle where I have a right to be."
Florida's law states a person does not have to retreat even if they are in public rather than their own property. Gattone says an investigation could change that.
"The Federal government can't say to Florida 'you have to undo this law,'" he said, "Certainly if the justice department is investigating for civil rights violations and they find out that this no retreat law in Florida has led to similar problems with people of color getting killed, then it might lead to a change in that law."
Gattone says the spotlight and demonstrations will probably spur more changes than an actual investigation, bringing awareness toward the issue of racial profiling.
"I would hope that we could raise the public consciousness about racial profiling," he said.
Demonstrators in Tucson plan to keep wearing hoodies to show their support for Martin. There is also a nation-wide demonstration in the works set for March 31.