Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Attorney General Eric Holder addressed the annual convention of the NAACP on Tuesday, and in the wake of the George Zimmerman trial in Florida, he addressed the legitimate concerns of African-Americans that simply being a black male in America renders them a "criminal suspect." Attorney General Eric Holder denounces ‘stand your ground’ laws:
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. strongly condemned “stand your
ground” laws Tuesday, saying the measures “senselessly expand the
concept of self-defense” and may encourage “violent situations to
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“These laws try to fix something that was never broken,” Holder told cheering delegates of the annual convention of the NAACP,
which is pressing him to file civil rights charges against Zimmerman.
“The list of resulting tragedies is long and, unfortunately, has
victimized too many who are innocent.”
The attorney general, who
is the first African American ever to hold that position, drew parallels
between his own life and the claims of many here that Zimmerman
racially profiled Martin after spotting the teenager walking through his
father’s neighborhood in a hooded sweatshirt. Martin was African
American. Zimmerman’s father is white, his mother Peruvian.
recalled being pulled over twice by police on the New Jersey Turnpike
as a young man and having his car searched, “when I’m sure I wasn’t
speeding.” Another time, he said, he was stopped by law enforcement in
Georgetown while simply running to catch a movie after dark.
was, at the time of that last incident, a federal prosecutor,” Holder
said dryly, prompting some in the audience at the Orlando Convention
Center to gasp in disgust and others to shake their heads. “We must
confront the underlying attitudes, mistaken beliefs and unfortunate
stereotypes that serve too often as the basis for police action and
His personal stories and his denunciation of “stand your ground” laws
brought the audience to its feet. But administration officials say that
there is little the Justice Department can do to actually change the
laws, because they are state, rather than federal, statutes.
he was a youth growing up in New York, Holder said, his father — an
immigrant from Barbados — warned him to act carefully if he was stopped
by police. Decades later, after Martin was killed, the nation’s chief
law enforcement officer decided he had to have a similar conversation
with his own 15-year-old son. “This was a father-son tradition I hoped
would not need to be handed down,” he told the delegates.