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Trayvon Martin

The Reverend Al Sharpton led a rally at a Clearwater church Sunday to protest Florida’s controversial 'stand your ground' law.

And while the civil rights leader spoke in the sanctuary, demonstrators made their feelings heard outside.

Cathy Carter / WUSF Public Media

A civil rights attorney best known for representing the family of Trayvon Martin said Thursday that prosecutors should not apply Florida's Stand Your Ground law in a recent shooting death near Clearwater.

Florida was the first state to enact a "stand your ground" law. Under the law, a person is allowed to use lethal force — and has no duty to retreat — if they believe they are in danger.

Since it was enacted in 2005, the law has drawn high-profile controversies, including the shooting of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.

Harvard professor Caroline Light was recently in Miami to talk about the law’s historical roots and her book “Stand Your Ground: A History of America's Love Affair with Lethal Self-Defense.”

The Associated Press

Bidding in an online auction for the pistol former neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman used to kill Trayvon Martin appeared to have been hijacked by fake accounts posting astronomically high bids.

At one point early Friday, the bidding surpassed $65 million with the leading bidder using the screen name "Racist McShootFace." The site later showed that account had been deleted.

The Associated Press

Former Florida neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman is auctioning off the pistol he used in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager.

In an interview with Orlando, Florida, TV station WOFL, Zimmerman said he had just gotten the pistol back from the U.S. Justice Department, which took it after he was acquitted in Martin's 2012 shooting death.

Federal authorities have decided to close an investigation of George Zimmerman, the Florida man who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin back in 2012.

The killing sparked protests and a national conversation on race. Zimmerman, who is white, was acquitted of murder of the unarmed black teenager by a Florida jury, but federal prosecutors were weighing whether to bring hate crime charges against Zimmerman.

A Florida woman who once had been sentenced to 20 years in a case that invoked the state's "stand your ground" law has accepted a plea deal that will see her released from prison in January.

Marissa Alexander of Jacksonville, Fla., was accused of firing what she said was a warning shot at her husband and two of his children during a domestic dispute in 2010. She was charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, convicted and sentenced under Florida's mandatory minimum guidelines.

The Jacksonville mother once sentenced to 20 years for shooting into a wall will now serve 65 days in county jail and two years under house arrest under a new plea agreement.
 

Marissa Alexander agreed to take a plea deal Monday afternoon. 

She pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated assault and because she has already served time, she'll only spend 65 more days behind bars.

George Zimmerman's trial for killing Trayvon Martin became a flashpoint for raucous, heated debates — conversations about racial profiling, gun laws and the criminal justice system. Zimmerman's acquittal was seen by many as an outrage, but any outcome would have been unsatisfying for many people, since criminal trials are horrible proxies for the resolutions of big, thorny social issues.

A Florida judge on Monday dismissed the defamation lawsuit filed by George Zimmerman against NBC and three reporters, saying the former neighborhood watch leader failed to show the network acted with malice.

Judge Debra Nelson said the malice standard was appropriate because Zimmerman became a public figure after he shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford in February 2012, generating a national conversation about race and self-defense laws.

Joe Burbank / Orlando Sentinel/Pool

Part of a lawsuit against NBC Universal that claims the television network defamed George Zimmerman in a 2012 broadcast was thrown out by a Florida judge Thursday, putting the entire litigation in jeopardy.

Phil Sears / Associated Press

The Rev. Al Sharpton led hundreds of people on a march Monday to the state Capitol, where they rallied against Florida's "stand your ground" law.

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office

The trial began today for the white Florida man accused of shooting and killing an unarmed black teen in November 2012, raising comparisons to the Trayvon Martin case.

Michael Dunn pulled into a Jacksonville gas station and parked next to the SUV in which 17-year-old Jordan Davis was sitting in with three friends. The 47-year-old software developer from Satellite Beach was waiting for his fiancée to return from the convenience store when he told the teens to turn their music down.

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

Joe Burbank / AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel

Prosecutors say they will not file domestic violence charges against George Zimmerman after his girlfriend said in a sworn statement she did not want to pursue the case.

State Attorney Phil Archer in Seminole County said in a statement Wednesday that Samantha Scheibe's decision not to cooperate and the lack of other corroborating evidence made a successful prosecution unlikely.

Joe Burbank / AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Pool

George Zimmerman had five guns and more than 100 rounds of ammunition with him when deputies arrested him earlier this month on domestic violence charges, according to court documents released Tuesday.

A search warrant made public by the Seminole County court clerk shows that Zimmerman had a 12-gauge shotgun, an AR-15 assault rifle and three handguns when he was arrested Nov. 18 at his girlfriend's house. The girlfriend, Samantha Scheibe, told deputies that Zimmerman pointed a shotgun at her during an argument and also used it to smash her coffee table.

The estranged wife of George Zimmerman said Thursday she thinks her husband has unraveled since he was acquitted in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin.

"I don't know who George is anymore," Shellie Zimmerman said on Katie Couric's show "Katie." After his murder trial, he became unpredictable and "a pacing lion."

George Zimmerman, the former Neighborhood Watch volunteer acquitted in the killing of Trayvon Martin, has been charged with aggravated assault for allegedly pointing a gun at his girlfriend, Samantha Scheibe, during a domestic dispute on Monday.

The Orlando Sentinel reports:

Former neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman was arrested Monday in Florida after deputies responded to a disturbance call at a house, authorities said.

Zimmerman will be transported and booked into jail, a Seminole County Sheriff's Office statement said. Authorities provided few other details, and it was not immediately known what charges he faced. Messages for comment left by The Associated Press with the sheriff's office were not immediately returned.

The police chief in Sanford, Fla., where neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman shot and killed teenager Trayvon Martin in February 2012, will unveil rules next week that stress "volunteers are not to carry guns and not to follow suspects," our colleagues at Orlando's WMFE report.

Fla. Woman Who Fired Gun at Husband Gets New Trial

Sep 26, 2013
Lincoln Alexander / provided to the Associated Press

A Florida woman serving 20 years in prison for firing a shot at her estranged husband during an argument will get a new trial, though she will not be able to invoke a "stand your ground" defense, an appeals court ruled Thursday.

The case of Marissa Alexander, a Jacksonville mother of three, has been used by critics of Florida's "stand your ground" law and mandatory minimum sentences to argue that the state's justice system is skewed against defendants who are black.

George Zimmerman, the former neighborhood watch volunteer acquitted in the killing of Trayvon Martin, was questioned by police Monday, after his wife called 911, saying Zimmerman was threatening her with a gun and knife.

The AP reports:

Zimmerman's Wife Files for Divorce

Sep 5, 2013
Gary W. Green / UPI/Landov

George Zimmerman’s wife filed for divorce Thursday, less than two months after her husband was acquitted of murdering Trayvon Martin and a week after she pleaded guilty to perjury in his case.

Shellie Zimmerman made the decision because of “disappointment,” her attorney, Kelly Sims, wrote Thursday in a short email to The Associated Press. The 26-year-old Zimmerman told ABC’s “Good Morning America” last week that she was having serious doubts about remaining married.

John Raoux / AP Photo

Nearly two years after a drum major's hazing death silenced the music at Florida A&M football games, the famed Marching 100 band returned to the field Sunday with its familiar booms, drum rattles and other tones for the school's season-opener.

"Shellie Zimmerman, the wife of acquitted murder suspect George Zimmerman, today pleaded guilty to a less serious form of perjury in a plea deal that requires her to serve one year of probation," the Orlando Sentinel writes.

Joe Burbank / Orlando Sentinel

George Zimmerman, whose acquittal in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin sparked protests across the United States, will ask Florida to pay up to $300,000 of his legal expenses, his attorney told the Orlando Sentinel on Monday.

Zimmerman will rely on state law that allows a defendant who has been found not guilty to be reimbursed for costs associated with a case, the paper reported.

Ad Dramatizes Trayvon Martin Shooting

Aug 21, 2013

The Trayvon Martin shooting is at the center of a new video that advocates changing gun policy. The internet video reenacts George Zimmerman's shooting of the unarmed Florida teen, and includes tape from the 9-1-1 calls that night.

Dream Defenders Vacate Capitol Building

Aug 16, 2013
Ryan Benk / WFSU News

After a month of occupying the Florida Governor’s office in the wake of George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, activists supporting the repeal of the state’s "Stand Your Ground" law finally moved out yesterday.

Public Forum: The Trayvon Martin Story

Aug 9, 2013
Yoselis Ramos

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.

On race, Barack Obama often says he is not president of black America, but of the United States of America. Though he has not avoided the subject during his time in office, he tends not to seek out opportunities to discuss racial issues.

"He wanted to address them in a time and a way that accomplished specific objectives," says Joshua Dubois, who ran the White House's faith-based initiatives during Obama's first term.

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