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Public Forum: The Trayvon Martin Story

Second hour of the forum.

Almost 100 people showed up to USF's Patel center to be a part of the discussion on the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case. The public forum was hosted by the Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists and the George Edgecomb Bar Association.

The panel discussed the process of choosing a jury, the inner statutes of the Stand Your Ground Law and how the media portrayed it all in the hopes to better inform the community.

Those in the panel included criminal defense attorney Joe Caimino, Hillsborough NAACP President Carolyn Collins, federal public defender Alec F. Hall, George Edgecomb Bar Association President Cory J. Person, and Tampa Bay Times staff writer Ben Montgomery.  Media critic Eric Deggans moderated the discussion.

Credit Yoselis Ramos

Tampa Bay Times staff writer Ben Montgomery said criminal cases are complicated and lengthy.

"I think it's a good idea for all of us to, if we're really interested in this law, instead of just relying on anecdotes, it's best to step back and understand that these things are big and hairy and not everything fits together," Montgomery said.

South Tampa resident Robert Johnson asked the panel to reconsider its line of thinking.

"Are we attacking this the right way? I'm a person that wants to see improvement in the black community," Johnson said. "Do we honestly believe that by putting our attention towards getting rid of Stand Your Ground Law is going to really improve the overall condition of the black community?"

George Zimmerman was recently acquitted of first degree murder and manslaughter charges against 17-year-old Trayvon Martin from Sanford.

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