A high-ranking civil rights official on Friday called for the US Commission on Civil Rights to launch an investigation into “Stand Your Ground” laws like the one at the center of the Trayvon Martin killing in Florida.
Commissioner Michael Yaki said he would ask the commission to vote for an investigation at a meeting in May.
“The Trayvon Martin case has raised serious and disturbing questions over whether these statutes allow an unacceptable component of racial bias into our justice system,” Yaki said in a statement.
Martin, an unarmed black teenager, was returning to his father’s girlfriend’s home in Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26 when he was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a Hispanic man who was acting as a neighborhood watchman.
After the shooting, Zimmerman said he was acting in self defense and police declined to arrest him, citing Florida’s Stand Your Ground law.
“Allegations that shooters like George Zimmerman may have ‘profiled’ their victims based on their race and that stand your ground laws improperly protect race-motivated killings needs review,” the statement said.