Gov. Scott says no to demands but protest remains

PowerUCenter member James Alvarez, from Miami, leads a chant Wednesday, July 17, 2013 from Florida Gov. Rick Scott's office in the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. A sit-in at Scott's office, organized by Dream Defenders in response to the ‘not guilty’ verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman, the Florida neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot Trayvon Martin, continues for a second day. (AP Photo/Phil Sears)

PowerUCenter member James Alvarez, from Miami, leads a chant Wednesday, July 17, 2013 from Florida Gov. Rick Scott's office in the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. A sit-in at Scott's office, organized by Dream Defenders in response to the ‘not guilty’ verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman, the Florida neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot Trayvon Martin, continues for a second day. (AP Photo/Phil Sears)

Florida Gov. Rick Scott made it clear again on Wednesday that he has no plans to call a special session to have legislators address the state's self-defense laws in the wake of the George Zimmerman trial.

But Scott's words so far having little effect on the small group of protesters upset that Zimmerman was acquitted over the weekend of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in the death last year of Trayvon Martin.

A group of as many as 30 protesters remained in the Capitol after hours and were prepared to spend a second straight night in the hallway near Scott's office. The group had pillows, bottled water, pizza and other food on hand. They started chanting and signing loudly phrases such as "Mama, mama, can't you see what the system done to me" once the doors were closed to government offices.

A spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said that the protesters — many of whom are members of a group called Dream Defenders — would be allowed to stay overnight again.

Protester Steven Pargett said the group would "wait" until their demands - which includes changing the state's "stand your ground law" - were met. Scott spent the day in Pensacola and Panama City and has not yet seen or met with the protesters since they arrived earlier in the week.

"The governor has not yet arrived so apparently this isn't a priority of his," Pargett said. "This is a huge priority of ours. This is the largest priority that we have and it's not just us....So we're here and we'll wait and we'll wait."

Scott during a stop in Pensacola said he supported people giving their views.

"I think it is great that people are exercising their voices," Scott said.

But he repeated his statement from Tuesday that he does not believe that any changes need to be made to the state's "stand your ground" law which allows someone to use deadly force if they believe their life is in danger. The 2005 law eliminated a provision that required people outside their homes to have a "duty to retreat" from a threat.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in a speech to the NAACP on Tuesday said all such laws across the country need to be reassessed and that they "sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods."

Scott's position is the same as the one reached by a task force he created last year after the Martin shooting.

The Republican governor would not say if he planned to meet with the protesters.

Scott — who did spend Tuesday night at the mansion after a day in New York City — is not expected to be in Tallahassee for the rest of the week.

Scott's handling of the protests is quickly turning into a political issue for him. The head of the Florida NAACP wrote him a letter urging him to "immediately" return to the Capitol to address the "outcry" over the Zimmerman verdict.

Adora Obi Nweze, president of the Florida State Conference NAACP, in her letter contended that families don't know what to tell to children on how to remain safe.

"This verdict has caused families to ask the question - 'What should I tell my child in order to keep them safe and alive in Florida?" she wrote Scott. "We are the fourth largest state in the union with one of the nation's most diverse populations. This is not the kind of Florida our children deserve."

Democratic legislators are also beginning to chime in. The two top Democrats in the Florida Legislature plan to hold a press conference on Thursday to respond to "deep community concerns" over the verdict.

Rep. Alan Williams, who has spent time with the protesters the last two days, warned Scott that the group was the "most passionate" he was likely to encounter during his four years in office. He said that previous governors would have at least listened to what they had to say.

"If this was Charlie Crist or Jeb Bush, they would have come and talked with them," said Williams, D-Tallahassee.

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Comments » 4

August8 writes:

Get A Job, that's my take. Statistics prove Stand Your Ground used more by blacks than whites.
Get A Job !!!

WMissow writes:

("This verdict has caused families to ask the question - 'What should I tell my child in order to keep them safe and alive in Florida?" she wrote Scott. "We are the fourth largest state in the union with one of the nation's most diverse populations. This is not the kind of Florida our children deserve.")

If you teach your children, respect for others, not to be part of groups who commit crimes, look and dress respectable, not to look like those people who are known to be gang members etc. then most likely your children will not be caught up in a situation that Trayvon was. If mommy and/or daddy do not do their job of parenting, then things like this, too many times, will be the outcome.

I am not sure if Trayvon was part of any of these groups but, the pictures the media do and did not show are the ones with the tattoos, gold teeth, jail house pants etc. Do your "little" children come home dressed like that? If so, do something about it instead of blaming someone else for what happens to them.

What has happened to this society that kids want to emulate the dregs of our society and the parents don't have the power to do anything about it?

Governor, the rest of us have to protect ourselves and the "stand your ground" must be kept or we all lose out in the end.

August8 writes:

in response to WMissow:

("This verdict has caused families to ask the question - 'What should I tell my child in order to keep them safe and alive in Florida?" she wrote Scott. "We are the fourth largest state in the union with one of the nation's most diverse populations. This is not the kind of Florida our children deserve.")

If you teach your children, respect for others, not to be part of groups who commit crimes, look and dress respectable, not to look like those people who are known to be gang members etc. then most likely your children will not be caught up in a situation that Trayvon was. If mommy and/or daddy do not do their job of parenting, then things like this, too many times, will be the outcome.

I am not sure if Trayvon was part of any of these groups but, the pictures the media do and did not show are the ones with the tattoos, gold teeth, jail house pants etc. Do your "little" children come home dressed like that? If so, do something about it instead of blaming someone else for what happens to them.

What has happened to this society that kids want to emulate the dregs of our society and the parents don't have the power to do anything about it?

Governor, the rest of us have to protect ourselves and the "stand your ground" must be kept or we all lose out in the end.

You are absolutely correct, but, are you aware Stand Your Ground was not even used in that rediculous case that should not have been brought?

WMissow writes:

The new law will be "self defense will only apply if the person/s who is/are attacking you is/are of the same genetic or ethnic background that you are, other wise you will be charged with racism, discrimination or a hate crime."

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