ROSELLE—Mayor Jamel C. Holley and Borough Council Wednesday submitted a formal plea to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate alleged civil rights violations in the case of the 2012 fatal shooting of Florida high school student Trayvon Martin.
Roselle is the first Union County municipality to call on the Obama administration to further investigate the case, which concluded last week in the acquittal of Martin’s shooter, George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was found not guilty of second-degree murder and of manslaughter charges.
“It was clear since the day Trayvon Martin was tragically killed that not only was this an avoidable tragedy, but also one based on fundamental prejudices. Whether the assailant, Zimmerman, was technically guilty or not, justice has not been served,” Holley said.
The resolution, which was passed in an emergency session, cites Holder’s previous condemnation of Florida’s stand-your-ground law, characterizing the controversial law as “senselessly expand[ing] the concept of self-defense.
“These laws try to fix something that was never broken,” Holder said Tuesday in a specch to the NAACP in Florida. “The list of resulting tragedies is long and, unfortunately, has victimized too many who are innocent.”
Growing dissatisfaction with the verdict as well as ongoing protests necessitated the borough to take action, said 5th Ward Councilman Roy Locke. “We can do two things as elected officials. We can stand idly by and let things go their predetermined course, or we can take a stand and demand action. We demanded action.”
“Florida’s so-called ‘stand-your-ground’ law is referred to as the ‘shoot-first’ law for a reason,” said 3rd Ward Councilman Randy Sandifer. “This dangerous law empowers an assailant to take unnecessary, and, in Trayvon’s case, fatal action. The law must be repealed.”
The resolution took effect immediately following Wednesday’s passage. The Borough clerk has been instructed to formally submit it to the White House and the Justice Department for review, Holley said.
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