Trayvon Martin case | Georgians react to Zimmerman's arrest

Marcus Coleman, president of the Atlanta chapter of the National Action Network, was with Trayvon Martin’s parents in Washington, D.C., for NAN’s annual convention Wednesday when they learned their son’s shooter would be charged:

“They were definitely relieved,” he said. “They just want to see handcuffs put on [Zimmerman]. I think we’re all pretty happy to finally have some movement here. Remember this went damn near unheard of for about a month.

“It definitely started a movement across this country. I think we have a great opportunity, going forward, to keep spotlighting the injustices that take place across this country – not just in Sanford, Fla.”

UGA law professor Ron Carlson:

“I think it’ll be a very difficult case to prosecute. Zimmerman’s story is going to be hard to dispute because the other witness to it is not around. And according to police, the two witnesses to the scuffle [with Trayvon Martin] back up Zimmerman’s account.

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“Zimmerman hasn’t done himself any favors with his erratic behavior in recent days. One thing you don’t want to have is a reputation for being flaky and unreliable, and that’s the way he’s looked these past few days.”

John Monroe, vice president of GeorgiaCarry.Org, a pro-Second Amendment group that backs the “stand your ground” law:

“I don’t think this case has anything to do with stand your ground. There’s a misconception that stand your ground is something new. The concept of a duty to retreat is what’s new here. I don’t know all the evidence in the case, but if it appears there is probable cause to prosecute, then he should be prosecuted.”

Derrick Boazman, former Atlanta city councilman and community activist, took a busload of people to Sanford, Fla., for the first major rally after the Trayvon story broke nationally:

“It’s cathartic but there’s a long way to go. All we’ve asked for is justice. We’ll see if the charges reflect that. I’m looking to see the evidence that suggests what was [Zimmerman’s] motivation.

“While I’m pleased to see charges brought, this wouldn’t be happening had people not gotten incensed and said, ‘No, you cannot kill a young man under these circumstance.’ Had the people not gotten up in arms nothing would’ve happened.

“We still need to try and make sense of what happened there. It’s certainly not isolated to Sanford, Fla.”

Alice Johnson, director of Georgians for Gun Safety, which opposed the expansion of the “stand your ground” provision adopted in Georgia in 2006:

“We believe it was dangerous when it passed and it remains dangerous. We think more public scrutiny, and added scrutiny by the courts, is absolutely called for.” The death of Trayvon Martin “underscores how dangerous this legislation is. This kind of blanket legislation suggests that people are not responsible for their actions. It makes it hard to get the facts of individual cases out. Public places shouldn’t be ‘patrolled’ by private citizens. This wasn’t about someone protecting their home or property.”

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