Civil rights commission on racial bias in 'stand your ground' laws hears testimony in Florida



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ORLANDO, Florida — A federal civil rights commission evaluating racial disparities in the "stand your ground" laws is being told that they benefit whites more than blacks, are unnecessary and cause minority men to live in fear.

That's the opinion of several experts who spoke Friday before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in Orlando, Florida.

But an African-American Democratic lawmaker from South Carolina dissented. Rep. Todd Rutherford said the law benefits black defendants by putting placing an extra hurdle before arrest by police officers who may have racial biases.

"Stand-your-ground" laws provide that individuals have no duty to retreat from any place they may rightfully be and may use any level of force, including lethal, if they reasonably believe they face an imminent and immediate threat of serious bodily harm or death.

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