Stand Your Ground Opposition
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence has re-created the night Trayvon Martin was killed in a dramatic PSA that asks Americans to "stand up to 'Stand Your Ground Laws.'"
Twenty-six states including Texas currently have some form of law allowing for deadly force if one feels threatened.
The video, which was posted August 19, takes several creative liberties with the accepted story line in which neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in a Florida apartment complex. Zimmerman was acquitted for Martin's death in July.
Dressed in an orange and black jacket, the actor portraying Zimmerman chases Martin on foot through the rain while on the phone with police. Zimmerman reportedly followed Martin from his car, which Zimmerman exited shortly before the deadly altercation. The video also plays audio from Zimmerman's call, selecting the few moments during which a police officer tells him not to follow the teen.
The video ends with a slain Martin as one of many hooded victims lying in the grass, each one with pro-gun state name written on his chest. The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence disabled comments for the video and has set up an online petition in conjunction with the PSA.
Although Florida's controversial "Stand Your Ground" law was not specifically invoked during Zimmerman's trial, many believe its mere existence contributed to Martin's death. The Texas Penal Code allows for "deadly force to protect property." This law has successfully been used to justify killing, most recently in the death of a Craigslist escort in San Antonio.
"We hope our Stand Your Ground PSA will mobilize new activism on the issue and bring us to a point where our laws are acting to protect victims, as opposed to creating new ones," coalition spokesperson Ladd Everitt said in a statement.