(Jeremy C. Fox for Boston.com)
The New England Area Conference of the NAACP has announced a rally and protest for Thursday focused on the February killing of Trayvon Martin and Massachusetts’ so-called “stand your ground” bill.
Activists plan to gather at Boston Common’s Parkman Bandstand, near Tremont Street, at 11 a.m. on Thursday to “show support for Trayvon Martin’s family as they demand a thorough investigation of all circumstances surrounding Trayvon’s death,” according to a flier released by the local NAACP chapter.
Following the rally, the group plans to walk across the Common to the State House to express opposition to the controversial bill that would legalize the use of deadly force in a confrontation.
Martin, a 17-year-old black high-school student, was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch member in a gated community in Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26. Martin was unarmed, carrying only a bag of candy and a can of iced tea, but his shooter, 28-year-old George Zimmerman, has not been arrested or charged with any crime.
The case has provoked a national outcry in recent weeks over alleged racial profiling and Florida’s “stand your ground” law.
The Associated Press reported Monday that a special prosecutor announced she would not empanel a grand jury to examine the case, as had been planned, but could still file charges against Zimmerman.
Massachusetts’ “stand your ground” bill was proposed by State Senator Stephen M. Brewer, a Democrat from Barre, and co-sponsored by 26 other legislators. Brewer filed the bill in January 2011, but it has received increased scrutiny in the aftermath of Martin’s death.
The bill would make legal the use of deadly force in circumstances where the person using such force “acted in the reasonable belief that an assailant was about to inflict great bodily injury or death upon themselves or upon another person who also had a right to be in the location.”
The bill states that the person acting in self-defense or defense of another would not be subject to arrest or prosecution and would not be held liable for damages. Brewer told a Globe reporter last week that the proposed law would not apply in a case such as Martin’s.
The bill was sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has until April 27 to decide whether to send the bill back to the full legislature. Boston City Councilors Tito Jackson and Felix G. Arroyo proposed a resolution last week that would ask state lawmakers to defeat the proposal.