The criminal trial of George Zimmerman ended with a jury finding him not guilty in the death of Trayvon Martin. Throughout the trial, “stand your ground” was mentioned several times.
According to Cedar Rapids attorney Sara Riley, Iowa does not currently have a “stand your ground” law.
“Stand your ground” rules vary state-to-state, but overall the law allows deadly force in self-defense situations.
Riley said this type of law allows citizens in some states to take deadly action toward anyone they deem a threat.
“If somebody hits you, and you’re fearful of your life, you could kill them,” she explained.
Rules in that law require authorities to have evidence against a person’s claim of self-defense, if they use deadly force against an attacker. That’s why Zimmerman wasn’t arrested the night he shot Trayvon Martin.
Had George Zimmerman or any other person had been in a similar situation and pulled the trigger in Iowa, it likely would have gone differently, Riley said.
“The person would have been arrested. There would have been a full investigation done,” Riley added.
Riley explained that in cases like this, the people who use deadly force are arrested, even if criminal charges never come up.
“I can’t imagine if this had happened in Iowa that George Zimmerman would have left the police station that night, let alone not been charged,” Riley said.
She believes that, considering the details of the Zimmerman trial, it would have ended differently in this state.
“I think a jury would have at least committed to manslaughter, if not a higher level.”
The trial will be a main topic of discussion at this week’s NAACP National Convention in Orlando, Florida.
“A lot people, not just here, but around the country, have some displeasure and disappointment from what happened,” said NAACP Cedar Rapids’ chapter representative Dedric Doolin, in a phone interview from Orlando.
A petition asking for the U.S. Department of Justice to bring civil rights charges against Zimmerman is in the works, Doolin said.
“We want a full-fledged civil rights investigation from the Department of Justice,” Doolin said.