MIAMI (AP) — Florida is among 21 states with a “Stand Your Ground Law.”
The self-defense law gives people wide latitude to use deadly force rather than retreat during a fight, and it helps explain why a neighborhood watch captain has not been arrested in the shooting death of an unarmed teenager.
The Florida law lets police officers on the scene decide whether they believe the self-defense claim. In this case, police say they are confident they did the right thing by not charging 28-year-old George Zimmerman, a white Hispanic.
The shooting’s racial overtones have sparked a debate over whether the shooting was warranted.
The Justice Department and FBI have opened a civil rights investigation, and the local prosecutor has convened a grand jury to determine whether to charge Zimmerman.