Sybrina Fulton, the mother of slain teenager Trayvon Martin, told a Senate panel Tuesday that Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law “certainly did not work in my case.”
“The person that shot and killed my son is walking the streets today,” Fulton said. At one point, she choked back tears when talking about how her son was fatally shot as he walked to the store for snacks. In her prepared testimony, she asked that Stand Your Ground laws be clarified “so that they are applied logically and most importantly, consistently.”
The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution hearing convened by Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., had originally been slated for September but was postponed because of the proximity in time to the Navy Yard shooting.
Lawyers for George Zimmerman, the man acquitted in the death of Trayvon Martin, didn’t cite Stand Your Ground laws in their defense, but many point to jury instructions in the case that state Zimmerman “had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force” if he believed it was needed to prevent death or “great bodily harm.”
Tuesday’s hearing represented a now rare moment for gun laws to come into congressional focus, even as no legislation is pending before the House or Senate. Durbin said that such laws disproportionately harm African-Americans.
But subcommittee ranking member Ted Cruz, R-Texas, bristled at that, saying black defendants commonly use Stand Your Ground laws in their defense and charged that the death of Martin was being exploited for political purposes.
Cruz told Fulton that he recognizes she is “simply mourning the loss of your son, but there are other players who are seeking to do a great deal more.”
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"The Senate Intelligence Committee is seeking to ensure that records related to Russia’s alleged intervention in the 2016 U.S. elections are preserved as it begins investigating that country’s ties to the Trump team. The panel sent more than a dozen letters to 'organizations, agencies and officials' on Friday, asking them to preserve materials related to the congressional investigation, according to a Senate aide, who was not authorized to comment publicly. The Senate Intelligence Committee is spearheading the most comprehensive probe on Capitol Hill of Russia’s alleged activities in the elections."
Memos issued by the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday night "implemented sweeping changes to the way immigration policy is enforced, making clear that millions of people living illegally in the U.S. are now subject to deportation and pushing authorities to fast-track the removal of many of them. ... The policy calls for enlisting local authorities to enforce immigration law, jailing more people while they wait for their hearings and trying to send border crossers back to Mexico to await proceedings, even if they aren’t Mexican."
Retired Russian diplomats and members of Vladimir Putin's staff are compiling a dossier "on Donald Trump's psychological makeup" for the Russian leader. "Among its preliminary conclusions is that the new American leader is a risk-taker who can be naïve, according to a senior Kremlin adviser."