POLITICO: Dems target 'Stand Your Ground' states05/08/12
House liberals want the government to cut funding for state and local police programs in places that have “Stand Your Ground” laws like the Florida statute at the center of the Trayvon Martin shooting case.
Reps. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, will offer an amendment to a Justice Department spending bill as early as Tuesday evening that would slash 20 percent of Byrne Grant funding for states with such laws on the books.
The authors know the amendment has no chance of winning adoption in the Republican-dominated House. But they hope to make a point about Martin’s shooting: that states and municipalities become less safe when citizens are given the right to shoot people who they believe represent a threat of death or great bodily harm.
“The message here is if you have this kind of law that your federal funding is going to take a hit because they make states less safe,” said Adam Sarvana, communications director for Grijalva.
Progressives want lawmakers to choose “whether they want that law or the appropriate level of public safety funding,” Sarvana said. “I think that’s a position they need to be put in and that they should have to explain to voters why are these laws more important than police funding.”
The Byrne grant program provides $370 million to state and local police forces to enforce the law, prosecute crimes, fund drug treatment programs, provide assistance to victims and witnesses, pay for drug treatment programs and other purposes.
George Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Martin, an unarmed black Florida teen-ager who was killed in late February after Zimmerman came upon him while volunteering for a neighborhood watch program in a gated community. Zimmerman had called police to report suspicious activity before the shooting.