Zimmerman's Lawyer: He's Not a Racist

He also thinks 'stand your ground' doesn't apply in Trayvon Martin case
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2012 9:37 AM CDT
George Zimmerman is seen in police mug shot from 2005.   (AP Photo/Orange County Jail via Miami Herald)

(Newser) – The man who shot Trayvon Martin in what he says was a case of self-defense is keeping out of the public eye, but George Zimmerman's lawyer went on CNN last night to rebut the notion that his client is racist. Zimmerman and his wife mentored two black teens, even after the official mentoring program folded, and also helped a black church raise money, said lawyer Craig Sonner. "I do not believe that's the indication of a person who's a racist." (The Washington Post notes that Zimmerman's father is white and his mother Latino, providing "no tidy way" to categorize him, and an Orlando Sentinel profile includes a quote from his dad strenuously rejecting the "racist" label as well.)

Another big issue in the case revolves around Florida's "stand your ground" law, but Sonner doesn't think it's relevant here. "In my legal opinion, that's not really applicable to this case," he told Anderson Cooper. "The statute on 'stand your ground' is primarily when you're in your house. This is self-defense, and that's been around for forever—that you have a right to defend yourself. So the next issue (that) is going to come up is, was he justified in using the amount of force he did?" The Dallas Morning News spoke to Jeb Bush, the governor who signed the measure into law, and he, too, thinks it's irrelevant. "This law does not apply to this particular circumstance," he said. "Stand your ground means stand your ground means stand your ground. It doesn't mean chase after somebody who's turned their back."

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