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Jesse Jackson suggests boycotting Florida as ‘apartheid state’

Rev. Jesse Jackson said Thursday that his Rainbow PUSH Coalition would consider boycotting Florida as “a kind of apartheid state” in the aftermath of the George Zimmerman not-guilty verdict last weekend.

“No doubt, the inclination is to boycott Florida, to stop conventions, to isolate Florida as a kind of apartheid state given this whole ‘stand your ground’ law,” Jackson told CNN. “Homicides against blacks have tripled since this law has been in existence.”

{mosads}The “stand your ground” self-defense law in Florida and two dozen other states allows individuals to defend themselves without requiring them to attempt to evade or retreat from a dangerous situation. Although Zimmerman did not specifically employ a “stand your ground” law defense to combat second-degree murder charges in the killing of Florida teen Trayvon Martin, the trial has brought a renewed scrutiny to the statute.

Jackson went on to say that he believes the Department of Justice “does have an action that it should pursue” — presumably referring to civil rights charges that the federal government is weighing against Zimmerman. He also suggested that President Obama should become more actively involved in the issue.

“He certainly has the attorney general involved. As the heat keeps rising on this crisis, Trayvon is a symbol of a deeper malady. It’s Trayvon in Florida, it’s Oscar Grant in, you know, Oakland, it’s Diallo in New York,” Jackson said, adding that presidents Eisenhower and Johnson had been moved to action by racially-motivated violence.

“At some point the president must offer the moral leadership he has to offer. I think he has been actively involved, and the heat will continue to rise.”

Earlier this week, Attorney General Eric Holder criticized “stand your ground” laws in a speech to the NAACP.

President Obama has not commented directly on next steps, with the White House saying that the president is wary of putting undue influence on the Justice Department as they weigh additional charges. 

In a statement over the weekend, Obama called the Martin shooting a “tragedy” and urged “calm.”

This post was updated at 5:36 p.m.


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