Rev. Jesse Jackson is in Georgia to protest the state’s stand-your-ground law. He will be introducing a lawsuit against the state in an effort to have the law repealed, according to a release from Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH coalition.
Jackson will be joined by the families of two men, Herman Smith and James Christopher Johnson III, as well as local elected officials.
The families of Smith and Johnson are two who have been affected by the laws that have sparked national debate since the death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin. The action comes as Jackson visits Atlanta for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition’s 14th annual Creating opportunity Conference.
A jury exonerated George Zimmerman for shooting Martin and the case involved a Florida version of the law that allows a person to use deadly force if they can reasonably conclude they are in physical danger.
“The SYG law violates the Equal Protection, Due Process and basic Human Rights of all Georgian,” said the release from Rainbow PUSH. “The law allows individuals to use deadly force based solely on their subjective ‘reasonable belief’ and not based upon an actual threat.”
Similar state laws, including Georgia’s, allow a person to use lethal force, beyond traditional self-defense, if they feel threatened rather than retreat. Critics have said that Florida’s stand-your-ground law was the reason Zimmerman was acquitted on all charges.
Jackson and other critics say the more lenient laws lead to more violence, particularly against black males like Martin.