Thompson: Scott’s Stand Your Ground Task Force Lacks Impartiality
State Rep. Geraldine Thompson (D-Orlando) on Friday blasted Gov. Rick Scott on the composition of the Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection, set up to review Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law, saying it is stacked with “legislators and others who are sympathetic to the status quo.”
“I am appalled and I’m sure many Floridians are also disappointed today to learn that Governor Rick Scott has blatantly stacked his task force with legislators and others who are sympathetic to the status quo concerning Florida’s Stand Your Ground law,” said Thompson in a statement one day after the governor announced the members of task force.
Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, who chairs the task force voted for the Stand Your Ground law in 2005, Thompson pointed out, and the same goes for State Senator Gary Siplin (D-Orlando).
“The governor also appointed state Rep. Dennis Baxley, an author of the law who has publicly stated in recent weeks that he believes the law has been helpful to Floridians. In addition, Senator David Simmons, another appointee, recently published an opinion article in The Orlando Sentinel in which he expressed firm support of the law,” Thompson said.
Thompson said she is skeptical and questions whether elected members of the task force could “really divorce themselves from the votes they have taken to pass the law.” She noted that Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law has resulted in an increase in deaths in the state that have been ruled justifiable homicides and urged that there be reform of the law.
“Trayvon Martin is dead and his tragic killing should be a cause for action and reform in Florida,” she said. “It is important to remember that the man accused of his murder was allowed to go free after the shooting because of this law. Florida needs impartial individuals who are not locked into their political stances of 2005 to look at this law and recognize its obvious flaws.”