News Release

Zimmerman Acquittal: Criminalization of Black Youth; ALEC


ABC News reports: “Several protesters were arrested this weekend when demonstrators expressed their anger at the acquittal of George Zimmerman in rallies across the nation, although most of the events were peaceful with marchers wearing hoodies, carrying signs and chanting ‘Justice for Trayvon Martin.'”

AJAMU DILLAHUNT, ardillahunt at
Dillahunt is with Black Workers for Justice in North Carolina. He was just featured in a piece in the Raleigh News and Observer and has been active in the weekly “Moral Mondays” protests, going on for several months including today at 5 p.m.

He said today: “There’s a widespread sense that this verdict is not justice and that it shows again that the courts are not capable of producing justice. There’s also great concern about the general criminalization of black youth — they are automatically labeled ‘suspicious.’ There’s certainly interest in remedies — if the Department of Justice can take action, and in changing laws like ‘Stand Your Ground.’ But there’s wide disappointment in the rather meaningless statement that came from the White House.”

LISA GRAVES, lisa at
Executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy, the publisher of and, Graves wrote “Big Money, ALEC and the Gun Agenda” in December. She said yesterday on MSNBC: “[‘Stand Your Ground’] was pushed in Florida by the NRA and then it was ratified by the American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC, which is a group that’s funded by some of the biggest corporations in the world. Once ALEC ratified that law they helped push it into law in 24 states, basically in its entirety, and another ten states partially. Another piece of the law that hasn’t been discussed is that if the defendant chooses to assert it, under that law in a civil suit, if the family does not prevail — for instance, if in this case in Florida, if Trayvon’s family does not prevail in a civil suit and this claim is invoked — under that law, they would be required to pay George Zimmerman’s attorney fees and his lost wages. It would require the victim’s family to pay the killer and pay for the killer’s wages. That’s the law in two dozen states in this country now.”