DFL Gov. Mark Dayton says he believes neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman went way beyond what the situation called for when he shot and killed a Florida teenager, and then claimed self-defense.
A Florida jury acquitted Zimmerman of second-degree murder last weekend. Dayton made his first public comments Wednesday about the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case. Dayton told reporters that citizens have a right to defend themselves, as well as a constitutional right to bear arms. But he said they have to do so responsibly and with respect for the lives of others.
"Whether we agree or disagree with the decision, we have to carry on," he said. "We have to learn from the mistakes of the past, learn that these kinds of laws that are supposedly empowering citizen vigilantes to take matters into their own hands have catastrophic effects."
Minnesota has a much narrower "stand your ground" law than the one on the books in Florida. Dayton vetoed a Republican-backed measure to broaden the law in 2012.