State Rep. Perry Thurston, a Broward Democrat who serves as his party's leader in the Florida House of Representatives, said Tuesday he applauds the "Dream Defenders" protest at the Florida Capitol.
The protesters, many of them college students, began their peaceful protest July 16 and have vowed to remain until the law is changed. The protest, sparked by the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case, is aimed at winning changes to Florida's controversial Stand Your Ground law.
Here is Thurston's statement:
“The Dream Defenders have put their whole selves into the fight for social justice and changes to Florida’s criminal justice laws and policies.
“They’re not only showing up at the Florida Capitol when it is convenient or when it’s attention getting. They’ve been here day and night. Their dedication is a model of what it will take to transform America.
“As admirable as their peaceful tactics, I find justification for many of their ideas, some of which parallel my long-held beliefs and advocacy for bringing more fairness to Florida’s justice system.
“While I embrace the call for changes to Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, I also believe a holistic review of Florida’s justice system is needed. For a long time now, I have been saying that there must be review and changes to Florida’s laws and policies pertaining to the selection, makeup and size of juries, our state’s minimum-mandatory sentencing guidelines, and a whole host of issues that have been raised by the Innocence Commission and other entities seeking a fairer criminal justice system.
“It is essential that Florida’s political leaders respond with action to today’s opportunities to create a better system of justice for all Floridians.”Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun