• Polk Co. bishop calls for repeal, revision of stand your ground


    POLK COUNTY, Fla. - In the wake of the Michael Dunn murder trial, a Polk County religious leader is calling for the repeal or revision of Florida's "stand your ground" law.

    Dunn is accused of shooting and killing Jordan Davis over an argument about loud music.

    WFTV reporter Jeff Deal spoke with a bishop who oversees more than 700 United Methodist churches.

    Bishop Kenneth Carter said the law leads people to believe they can always resort to violence.

    The outcome of the George Zimmerman trial, and more recently, the Dunn murder trial, stirred emotions and thrust the issue of the "stand your ground" law into the public spotlight.

    "For me, underneath those verdicts and those deaths was the "stand your ground" law," said Carter.

    That's why Carter, along with the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church, is getting involved.

    Carter sent a letter to Gov. Rick Scott asking him to consider either revising or repealing the "stand your ground" law.

    "I'm a non-partisan person, but for me, the law transcends political partisanship," said Carter.

    While he knows the cases involving the deaths of Trayvon Martin and Davis didn't directly involve "stand your ground," he believes just having the law on the books may influence people to use violence as a first response to confrontation.

    "I believe the repeal or revision of this law would really help us to be better persons to begin not with violence, and not with suspicion, not with standing your ground, but either by removing ourselves from a situation of violence or seeking another and better way to begin to respond to it," Carter said.

    He said the law goes against his religious principals in the Methodist church of "do no harm," and he's hoping his letter will at least start the conversation about this with Florida leaders.

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    Polk Co. bishop calls for repeal, revision of stand your ground