Even though SYG laws disproportionally benefit blacks.
(Reuters) – A national coalition led by the Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr. is seeking to have Georgia’s “Stand Your Ground” statute ruled unconstitutional, arguing in a federal lawsuit filed late Monday that the law discriminates against minorities.
The 2006 law, which allows citizens to use deadly force in self-defense if they feel threatened, harms black people because they are often perceived by society as more dangerous than other racial groups, Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition said in the suit filed in Atlanta.
“All Georgians, and particularly those of color, will be compelled to at all times prove that they are not taking part in any action which may lead an individual to form a ‘reasonable belief’ that they are posing a threat to them,” the suit said.
Robert Patillo, lead attorney for the plaintiffs, said he believed the coalition’s legal challenge was the only pending federal lawsuit in the country against a state “Stand Your Ground” law.
The laws came under new scrutiny after the 2012 death of Florida teenager, Trayvon Martin. Police in the central Florida town of Sanford initially declined to arrest shooter George Zimmerman, citing that state’s Stand Your Ground law and evidence that the unarmed Martin was getting the better of Zimmerman in a struggle when Zimmerman drew his gun and fired.
Martin was black, and Zimmerman is white and Hispanic. Zimmerman was later charged in the shooting death of the unarmed Martin but was acquitted by a jury of second-degree murder.