Jacksons call for federal ban on ‘Stand Your Ground’ statutes
BY JAMES SCALZITTI Staff Reporter email@example.com March 24, 2012 12:28PM
People wear hooded sweatshirts at a protest Saturday, March 24, 2012, at Daley Plaza in Chicago. A group of about 300 people gathered to protest the February 26th shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by a self-appointed neighborhood watch captain in Sanford, FL. Wearing a hooded sweatshirt, Trayvon had moments earlier gone to a store to buy Skittles. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times
Updated: April 26, 2012 8:26AM
The Jackson family — The Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., U.S. Jesse Jackson Jr. and Rainbow/PUSH Coalition spokesman Jonathan Jackson — on Saturday decried the killing of Florida teen Trayvon Martin and called for an end to “Stand Your Ground” state laws that allow citizens who are not police officers to shoot others whom they deem a threat.
Jonathan Jackson choked up and struggled to hold back tears as he told those in attendance at Rainbow/PUSH Coalition headquarters on the South Side of the similarities he sees between 17-year-old Trayvon — who was shot to death on Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla., by a neighborhood watch volunteer — and his own two sons, ages 10 and 14, as well as himself when he was Trayvon’s age. He said he tells his sons not to go outside wearing a hooded sweatshirt, which Trayvon was wearing when he was killed, “but even if they go behind my back, and wear a hoodie, a long shirt and baggy pants, they do not deserve to be killed!”
He added: “We cannot become indifferent to this senseless violence,” and praised NBA players such as LeBron James and Dwayne Wade, who have publicly spoken out about Trayvon’s killing. He called them examples of a new generation of professional athletes who are concerned and engaged in social issues.
“If everybody does something, we can fix this problem,” Jonathan Jackson said.
His brother, Rep. Jackson, called Trayvon’s death, “a tragedy and a senseless loss and a senseless killing.”
Referring to Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which makes it legal for non-police officers to carry weapons and use them, Rep. Jackson called for a ban on such state statutes.
“We need a uniform law in the U.S. to keep wannabe cops from standing their ground—to eliminate the ‘Stand Your Ground’ wannabe cop statutes in America. The state system is wrong and it’s unfair,” Jackson Jr. said.
Rev. Jackson later said “we need to stand our ground” by voting, registering people to vote and working to turn back the state laws that make vigilante shootings possible.
He said the man who shot Trayvon, George Zimmerman, “needs to be in jail for a long time.” He said that if the 10 people who were killed in acts of violence in Chicago last weekend were all white, “We would have turned the town upside down,” as opposed to the lack of attention paid to the victims because most of them were black or Hispanic.
Rev. Jackson called to the Rainbow/PUSH stage a man who is the brother of Rekia Boyd, the 22-year-old woman who died a day after she was shot in the head by an off-duty Chicago Police detective in the Lawndale neighborhood on the West Side.
She was shot about 1 a.m. Wednesday in the 3100 block of West 15th Place after the off-duty detective pulled out of an alley and saw several people causing a disturbance, according to a police News Affairs statement.
When the officer rolled down his window to investigate the disturbance, Antonio Cross, 39, allegedly approached him carrying a handgun, according to police News Affairs. Police say Cross pointed the gun at the detective, who fired his weapon from his vehicle, striking Cross and Boyd, who was nearby. Cross was treated at a hospital and released by early Thursday.
Boyd’s brother, fighting back tears, told Rev. Jackson the off-duty detective, “started arguing with a young man and he just started firing, at least 15 to 18 shots.”
He said Boyd’s family “didn’t get any answers, any apologies,” from police.
“We will not let her be buried in silence,” Rev. Jackson said. He then implored the crowd to, “fight back, register and vote. Fight back, and march.”