Florida's deadly force law allows people to meet "force with force"
22 states have versions of "stand your ground" laws
The shooting death of Trayvon Martin raised awareness and outrage about the law
"Wherever I find that law exists, I will not perform," Wonder tells a Quebec concert
Musician Stevie Wonder has vowed to stay out of Florida until the state repeals its “stand your ground” law.
The law allows people to meet “force with force” if they believe they or someone else is in danger of being seriously harmed by an assailant.
“I decided today that until the ‘stand your ground’ law is abolished in Florida, I will never perform there again,” Wonder told the audience at a concert in Quebec on Sunday night. “As a matter of fact, wherever I find that law exists, I will not perform in that state or in that part of the world.”
The 2012 shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman raised awareness and outrage about the law, although Zimmerman’s lawyers ultimately waived their client’s right to seek pretrial immunity because of the “stand your ground” law. Instead, they mounted a self-defense case that resulted in his acquittal on a second-degree murder charge on Saturday.
“The truth is that for those of you who’ve lost in the battle for justice, wherever that fits in any part of the world, we can’t bring them back,” Wonder said. “What we can do is we can let our voices be heard. And we can vote in our various countries throughout the world for change and equality for everybody. That’s what I know we can do.”
Florida is one of 22 states that have a version of the law, which permits the use of deadly force anywhere as long as a person is not engaged in an unlawful activity, is being attacked in a place he has a right to be and reasonably believes that his life and safety are in danger as a result of an overt act or perceived threat committed by someone else.
Wonder is familiar with performance boycotts. He joined many other artists in the 1980s in avoiding South Africa’s Sun City resort in protest of the country’s apartheid policies, which kept the minority white population in control of the majority black nation.