ORLANDO, Fla. — The first African American U.S. attorney general Eric Holder said shared a deeply personal connection with slain teen Trayvon Martin while saying the country must do away with “Stand Your Ground” laws that exists in 22 states, including Florida where Martin was murdered.
“The Trayvon Martin case caused me to sit down with my 15 year old son like my father sat down with me,” said the nation’s top law enforcement officer at the 104th NAACP Convention which, ironically, is being held about 30 minutes down the street from Sanford. “This is a tradition that I hoped wouldn’t need to happen. I had to do this to protect my son. This is a sad reality for a nation changing in so many ways.”
The head of the U.S. Department of Justice, who rules over agencies such as the FBI and DEA, also knows what it is like to be Tryavon Martin — to be racially profiled when there were no legitimate reasons to be accosted by the police.
“I was pulled twice and had my car searched on the New Jersey Turnpike when I’m sure I wasn’t speeding. And another time when I was running to catch a movie late at night in (the prosperous Georgetown section) in Washington D.C. and I was a federal prosecutor.”
Holder strongly criticized stand-your-ground laws that allow a person who believes he is in danger to use deadly force in self-defense.
Holder, referring to the case of Trayvon Martin shooting, said, “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.”
In an address to an NAACP convention, the attorney general said it is time to question laws that “senselessly expand the concept of self-defense.”
The attorney general said the country must take a hard look at laws that contribute to “more violence than they prevent.”
Holder said such laws “try to fix something that was never broken.”