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March 26th, 2012
10:21 AM ET

Join CNN for our Trayvon Martin Town Hall: "Beyond Trayvon"

The killing of 17-year-old Florida high school student, Trayvon Martin, has captivated the nation. The young man’s death has created an undeniable and important dialogue in this country, and now CNN wants to hear from you. 

This Thursday, March 29th at 8pmET at CNN studios in New York City, we are holding a Trayvon Martin Town Hall – "Beyond Trayvon: Race and Justice in America." “Starting Point” anchor Soledad O’Brien will host, and we want to hear what YOU have to say about this issue. Should people who aren’t police officers take the law into their own hands? Do you believe George Zimmerman should be arrested or not? We are looking to hear all opinions on this story and we want you to be in our studio audience.

For tickets to our studio audience, email with your FULL name, phone number, # of tickets (up to 2), and your question for our panel by Wednesday, March 28th at 9amET. The show tapes in New York City. You must be 18 and older to attend.

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  1. breenewsome


    Section 776.041(2) of the FL statute states that "The justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter [stand your ground law] is not available to a person who initially provokes the use of force against him or herself unless (a) Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant; or (b)In good faith, the person withdraws from physical contact with the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he or she desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the assailant continues or resumes the use of force.

    Let's assume that Zimmerman is telling the truth when he says that Trayvon was on top of him, banging his head into the ground. That would mean that Trayvon had both of his hands on Zimmerman's head, so Zimmerman's arms & hands were free. It seems to me that according to the statute, in order for the stand your ground law to apply to Zimmerman, he would have to demonstrate that he "exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death OR great bodily harm to the assailant." You mean to tell me that Zimmerman couldn't with his arms push that skinny boy off of him? He couldn't punch him? He couldn't hit him with the butt of the gun?

    The Florida statute makes clear provisions stating that you can not invoke the stand your ground law if you fight back against a law enforcement officer who is pursuing you (776.051). It also makes it clear that the law enforcement officer is entitled to use necessary deadly force if attacked while pursuing someone (776.05). The existence of that provision to me says that a distinction is to be made between when someone is pursued by a law enforcement officer & when they are pursued by another person. Zimmerman was not a law enforcement officer, therefore he cannot invoke the stand your ground law if Trayvon fought back against his pursuer.

    George Zimmerman is going to prison.

    March 29, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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