Trayvon Martin supporters occupy office of Florida Governor Rick Scott for 2nd night
Updated On: Jul 18 2013 06:47:33 AM EDT
Political activists protesting the not guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman murder trial continue to occupy Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s office, vowing not to leave until the governor returns to Tallahassee and addresses their concerns.
The protesters, many of whom stayed overnight Tuesday and Wednesday at the Capitol, are students known as the "Dream Defenders," and they say they want a special session of the Legislature to address Florida's Stand Your Ground law, which was passed in 2005.
"It's not a black tragedy or brown tragedy it's an American tragedy when a young boy is killed and we have a law on the books that allows that to be fine," said group leader Philip Agnew.
[RAW VIDEO: Martin supporters occupy Scott's office]
More than 75 people packed into Scott's outer office earlier in the day and chanted, "Justice for Trayvon." In a video posted to YouTube, protesters could be seen holding signs and saying in unison, "The world is ours."
Up to 200 protesters are expected on Wednesday.
"We can't have these terrible laws and terrible legislatures out here and then be upset when things like this happen," said Adam Russell, a FSU student. "What we need to do is change our government."
But Scott has made it clear he disagrees. He set up a bipartisan special task force with 19 people to review Florida's Stand Your Ground law after Martin's death.
Local 6 received a statement Tuesday night from Melissa Sellers, the communications director at the governor's office.
"As the Governor has said, as a father and a grandfather, his heart goes out to Trayvon Martin's family and all those affected by his death. We are grateful that people across our great nation have the right to assemble and share their views.
The Martin family's representative said, 'We accept the jury's verdict in this case,' and the Governor appreciates the service of the six women on the jury who did their duty as part of our country's judicial process.
Immediately following Trayvon Martin's death, Governor Scott called a bi-partisan Special Task Force with 19 citizens to review Florida's Stand Your Ground Law. This Task Force listened to Floridians across the state and heard their viewpoints and expert opinions on this law. The task force recommended that the law should not be overturned, and Governor Scott agrees."
It's not known when Scott is next scheduled to be at the Capitol.
Protesters have the right to peacefully assemble, but after 5 p.m. they have to leave Scott's office and spend the night in the lobby.
Zimmerman, 29, was acquitted Saturday night in the death of Martin, who was shot and killed in Sanford in February 2012.
Zimmerman claimed the shooting was in self-defense, although his attorneys did not rely on the Stand Your Ground law at trial.
Florida's Stand Your Ground allows citizens to "meet force with force, including deadly force" if he or she reasonably feels threatened in a confrontation.
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