Dem lawmakers: Zimmerman acquittal a dangerous precedent

A pair of House Democrats warned Sunday that George Zimmerman’s acquittal on murder charges in the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin sets a dangerous precedent for protection under “stand-your-ground” laws.

Speaking on CNN’s "State of the Union," Reps. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) said they were worried that the ruling in Florida would embolden others to act accordingly.

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“You empower individual citizens to basically take the law into their own hands,” Grijalva said, adding that he supported calls for the U.S. Justice Department to level federal civil rights charges against Zimmerman.

On February 26 of last year, Zimmerman, a 29-year old neighborhood watch volunteer, followed Martin through a Sanford, Fla. neighborhood and shot him to death following a brief struggle.

Fattah faulted Zimmerman’s jury for declining to convict him on even lesser charges.

“I think there should have been a punishment for that,” Fattah said. “What the jury is saying is, ‘Here’s George Zimmerman back, here’s his gun back and what he did was perfectly fine. And he’s coming to a neighborhood near you,” Fattah said.