Councilman wants Baltimore to boycott Florida after Zimmerman trial

If Councilman Nick Mosby has his way, Baltimore government would boycott Florida-based businesses in protest to the state's stand-your-ground law after George Zimmerman's acquittal.

Mosby intends to file a resolution on Monday to encourage city agencies and investment boards to avoid doing business with companies in the Sunshine State. He hopes that would pressure the legislature there to rethink a law that allows individuals to use lethal force, if necessary, to defend themselves in public places.


The resolution also calls on city officials to avoid traveling to Florida or attending events in the state.

"Ultimately, the purpose of the legislation is to call to attention to an issue I think is very severe, and is not just a Florida issue but an American issue," Mosby said. "I never want to see another Trayvon Martin again in my lifetime, nor do I want to see another policy that exacerbates the social issues we have in this country."


Jurors cleared Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin last month, which ignited nationwide protests. The jurors concluded that Zimmerman was acting in self-defense in Feburary 2012 when he fatally shot Martin, 17, inside a gated community in Florida.

Mosby's resolution says the state's stand-your-grand law is applied "subjectively and inconsistently" and allows individuals with guns to act as "vigilantes."

Zimmerman's attorneys did not specifically use the law in his defense, but the judge did mention a "right to stand your ground" in her instructions to the jury.

Nearly half the states have stand-your-ground laws.

Mosby's legislation would not compel the city to avoid doing business with Florida-based company, but encourage it.

Rather than push for its immediate passage on Monday, Mosby said he wants the resolution to be sent to a council committee, where it can vigorously debated.  He also wants the legislation to be a model for other municipalities in Maryland and elsewhere.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake hasn't decided whether to support the resolution.

"The Mayor is against stand-your-ground laws, and will review the resolution thoroughly," said her spokesman, Travis Tazelaar.


The mayor announced last month that the city hired Gans, Gans and Associates of Plant City, Fla., to lead recruitment efforts for a new fire chief. The company also was hired last year to help the city find a new president for the Baltimore Development Corp.

It's unclear what effect, if any, Mosby's resolution would have on that search. Mosby said finding a new company to identify job candidates should be considered.

"I want to do what is in the best interest of the city," Mosby said. "I don't know how far we are in the process. I would definitely like to entertain the idea."

On Monday, city council also will consider a resolution by Councilmen Warren Branch and Robert W. Curran that calls on the U.S. Department of Justice to "swiftly move for an indictment" of Zimmerman on the grounds of a civil rights violation, "if its investigation finds such charges to be warranted."

Baltimore Sun reporter Kevin Rector contributed to this report.