The parents of a Florida teen who was killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer in February will attend a House hearing on racial profiling and Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law Tuesday.
According to a report by the Huffington Post, the parents of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin will attend a special forum hosted by Judiciary ranking member John Conyers (D-Mich.) on Tuesday. The forum, which will also include other members of the Congressional Black Caucus as well as other minority Members of Congress, will look into not only Martin’s death but also racial profiling and federal hate crime laws.
The forum will also discuss Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, a controversial measure that allows armed civilians to use deadly force when they feel they are in danger of imminent — but not necessarily lethal — harm, rather than attempting to flee.
Martin was shot and killed Feb. 26 by George Zimmerman, a self-anointed neighborhood watch “captain.” Police in Sanford, Fla., have not arrested Zimmerman, citing the Stand Your Ground law as giving him the ability to shoot Martin, who was unarmed.
Zimmerman has reportedly told police that Martin attacked him, but tapes of 911 calls indicate Zimmerman actively pursued Martin.
Martin’s death has reignited the centuries-old debate over race in the United States. Late last week President Barack Obama called his death a “tragedy,” adding that “if I had a son he’d look like Trayvon.”
Conservatives such as Rush Limbaugh and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich have sought to tamp down the racial aspects of Martin’s killing.