Brown, others eye Fla. self-defense laws

Author: Tim Pulliam, General assignment reporter, tpulliam@wjxt.com
Published On: Feb 13 2014 02:45:59 PM EST   Updated On: Feb 13 2014 07:19:06 PM EST
Jury chairs
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

The Michael Dunn trial is garnering attention from around the world, putting a spotlight on Florida's self-defense laws.

Some people think they the need to be changed or reexamined.

Leading that discussion Thursday was Rep. Corrine Brown, who sat in on the trial jurors continued deliberations in the killing of 17-year-old Jordan Davis.

"There's a message that we are sending here in Florida," Brown said. "It's not just the law. It's the message. We need to change the message and the messenger."

Brown said the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin ignited the debate. She and others said they're concerned how the world will continue to look at Florida's self-defense laws or "stand your ground" law after the Dunn trial is over.

"The whole nation is looking at Jacksonville," said Phyllis Dedrick, who's been watching the trial. "I was born in St. Augustine and raised in Jacksonville. I want to make sure that Jacksonville does the trial right."

"I think it needs to be defined better so that you really understand what self-defense is," said Constance McCrary-Hause, who has also watched the trial.

"When you go to vote, you don't just vote for the president and Congress person," Brown said. "You have to vote for the judges, the state legislators in Tallahassee who deal with these kinds of bills."

"It is no reason that this family should have lost their son," Brown added.

She said the change must start with state and local leaders reexamining the law of self-defense.