‘Stand Your Ground' Protest at Marco Rubio's Office

Demonstrators to protest controversial law in wake of Trayvon Martin shooting

Outcry over Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law following the Trayvon Martin shooting continued with a demonstration outside Florida Senator Marco Rubio's Doral office Monday.

The student coalition group Dream Defenders planned the noon protest outside Rubio's office.

"We are here to ask Senator Rubio to retract his statements that he supports this law," said Esteban Roncancio at the protest.

The law has come under scrutiny following the shooting of the 17-year-old from Miami Gardens by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman at a gated community in Sanford on Feb. 26.

Though Martin was unarmed, Zimmerman told police the teen attacked him and the shooting was self-defense, and no charges have been filed in the case.

"It's a horrible law and we really need Marco Rubio to recognize this Trayvon Martin was not the first case and he will not be the last as long as Stand Your Ground is enacted," said Catarina De Quesada, a protester.

Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee Jr., who has temporarily stepped down pending the investigation into the shooting, had said there was no probable cause to arrest Zimmerman, citing the state's controversial law which allows the use of deadly force during a confrontation.

Last week, Rubio, who supported the law while in the state House, weighed in on the Martin case and said it was premature to talk about repealing "Stand Your Ground."

"I don't know what happened in this case, but 'Stand Your Ground' does not allow you to chase somebody and shoot them," he said. "So I'm not saying that's what happened in this case, but if it happened in this case or in any other case, 'Stand Your Ground' doesn't apply."

Rubio called the shooting "a tremendous tragedy" but said he was "troubled people are rushing to judgment."

"This so-called 'Stand Your Ground' law is a safe-haven for predators and murderers to kill and harm with impunity,"Roncancio, a member of the Dream Defenders, said in a statement. "We ask Senator Rubio to retract his support for this 'Kill at Will' law and use his political influence to prevent any more Trayvons from being murdered."

Roncancio said his group has about 15,000 signatures on a petition asking for Rubio to withdraw his support of the law.

Also last week, Miami-Dade County commissioners called for a repeal of the law and passed a resolution urging the Florida Legislature to convene hearings on the statute. State Sen. Chris Smith formed a task force in Fort Lauderdale to hear from judges and tourism officials to discuss changes or the possible repeal of the 2005 law.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has appointed a special prosecutor to oversee the investigation into Martin's death and is also planning his own task force to look into the law. The FBI and U.S. Justice Department are also investigating the shooting.

Communities all across the nation have been galvanized by the event. The shooting has led to numerous marches and protests throughout South Florida and across the country, as Martin's family and supporters demand Zimmerman's arrest.

On Sunday, the Dream Defenders completed a Daytona to Sanford protest march, and Roncancio said another march was planned for Monday in Sanford.

Sanford Police issued a statement Monday saying their department was temporarily closed to the public "due to the actions of student protesters."

"The students are currently occupying the space in front of the police department blocking the main entrance," the statement read. "This will have minimal effect on police and fire response to emergency calls."

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