Zimmerman verdict could mean a re-look at Georgia's stand-your-ground law

6:30 PM, Jul 19, 2013   |    comments
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  • Atlanta protest march over George Zimmerman verdict
  • George Zimmerman acquitted in Florida's Trayvon Martin murder case
  • Georgia State Senator Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta)
  • Atlanta Police Sgt. Greg Lyon
  • Governor Nathan Deal (R-Georgia)

ATLANTA -- Be prepared for delays, again, if you plan to visit downtown Atlanta Saturday.

That's because there's a major tennis tournament at Atlantic Station, a major soccer tournament at the Georgia Dome and a noon protest over the George Zimmerman verdict at Atlanta's federal courthouse.

As a city with a history of civil protests, Atlanta is also used to most of them being peaceful, which has been the tone of the Zimmerman protests here so far.

But the city's police force will be ready just in case, for that and everything else happening this weekend.

"We just came off the Peachtree Road Race; we did the Final Four; we're very good at what we do at handling large events of all kings," Atlanta Police Sgt. Greg Lyon told 11 Alive News on Friday.

Organizers of Saturday's Zimmerman verdict rally are also preaching peaceful protest.

But they may have a harder time trying to realize one of the issues they're protesting, overturning Georgia's 2006 stand-your-ground self-defense law, which is similar to Florida's.

"I think it's a bad law; I think it's less safe," State Senator Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) told 11 Alive.

Once again, he plans to introduce legislation to change the law.

Last year he couldn't even get a committee hearing on his bill, but he hopes this year the Republican controlled state legislature will at least let the issue be debated.

"We need a fair hearing; there's a great amount of public engagement and demand on this issue," Fort added.

Earlier this week Governor Nathan Deal said he expects another challenge of the law, but he still defends it.

"I do not see any reason to change it, but there again, that is the will of the General Assembly that will prevail on that issue," Deal said.

While they entered a plea of self-defense, George Zimmerman's attorneys did not argue Florida's stand-your-ground law.

But the judge told the jury they could consider it.

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