Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Democratic senator forms 'stand your ground' task force

TALLAHASSEE — State Sen. Chris Smith, frustrated by what he calls "stalling" by Gov. Rick Scott following the shooting death of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin, is launching a task force to review the controversial law at the center of the case.

"Instead of waiting on the governor to act, I've decided to lead in the state of Florida," the Fort Lauderdale Democrat said Tuesday. "I've assembled a task force to look at the controversial 'stand your ground' law."

The governor created a task force to review "stand your ground" two weeks ago but has said the group will not convene until after the investigation into the Martin shooting is completed.

Smith wanted faster action. His South Florida-based task force, made up of legal professionals and law enforcement officers, will hold its first meeting on Thursday at 4 p.m. at the Broward County Main Library.

Smith said local judges, attorneys and tourism officials will present to the task force on Thursday, to show how the controversial law — which allows people to use deadly force when they are threatened — has impacted the state.

On the task force are Rep. Perry Thurston, D-Plantation, Miami-Dade public defender Carlos Martinez, Broward State Attorney Mike Satz, former Sen. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale police Chief Frank Adderley, criminal defense attorney Alfreda Coward, legal scholar Zachary Weaver and several others. Although most of the task force members are Democrats, Smith said he did not consider politics when putting together the group.

Smith also announced a new website to solicit public comment: FloridaStandYourGround.org.

Nicki Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau, will present a letter to the task force Thursday, laying out how Florida's tourism industry could be harmed by the negative coverage the state is receiving. "One of the things you hope for in this job is very positive news," she said. "No bad news headlines, no hurricanes. Any one of those can disrupt your business."

Informed of Smith's decision to start a task force, Scott maintained his position that the state should look into the law after the Martin case is settled. "We should always look at things like this, but the first thing you do is you do an investigation," he said. "You make sure justice prevails, and then you step back and say 'Okay, what did we learn from this?' "

Smith, who voted against the 2005 law, disagrees. "It's time to get to work," said Smith, who believes the law can be examined independent of the Martin case. "We have a governor who ran on getting to work, but he wants to wait to work."

Times/Herald reporter Steve Bousquet contributed to this story.

Democratic senator forms 'stand your ground' task force 04/03/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 3, 2012 7:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. No toll lanes north of downtown Tampa in three of four interstate proposals

    Transportation

    TAMPA — Express lanes may not be coming to downtown Tampa after all. Or at least not to the stretch of Interstate 275 that goes north through Bearss Avenue.

    Seminole Heights resident Kimberly Overman discusses the new interstate options with V.M. Ybor resident Chris Vela (left), Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp and HNTB consultant Chloe Coney during a Tampa Bay Express meeting Monday night at the Barrymore Hotel. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON  |  Times]
  2. No lack of issues facing St. Petersburg's six council candidates

    Elections

    ST. PETERSBURG — The six candidates for City Council gathered Monday evening in the very chamber to which they aspire to serve.

    St. Petersburg City Council candidates (from left)  Brandi Gabbard and Barclay Harless in District 2; Jerick Johnston and incumbent council member Darden Rice in District 4; and Justin Bean and Gina Driscoll of District 6. All six candidates appeared at Monday night's forum at City Hall sponsored by the League of Women Voters. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]

  3. Iraq's Kurds vote on independence, raising regional fears

    World

    IRBIL, Iraq — Iraqi Kurds voted Monday in a landmark referendum on supporting independence, a move billed by the Kurdish leadership as an exercise in self-determination but viewed as a hostile act by Iraq's central government. Neighboring Turkey even threatened a military response.

    People celebrate Monday after voting closed in a referendum on independence in Irbil, Iraq.
  4. North Korean diplomat says Trump has 'declared war'

    War

    UNITED NATIONS — North Korea's top diplomat said Monday that President Donald Trump's weekend tweet was a "declaration of war" and North Korea has the right to retaliate by shooting down U.S. bombers, even in international airspace.

    North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, center, speaks outside the U.N. Plaza Hotel in New York on Monday.
  5. Pinellas grants St. Pete's request to add millions to pier budget

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    The Pinellas County Commission has granted St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's request to dedicate millions more toward the city's new pier.

    The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday  voted 7-1 to appropriate $17.6 million for the over-water portion of the Pier District. This is a rendering of what the new Pier District could look like. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg]