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Letter: Florida law wasn't the culprit

George Zimmerman listens as the verdict is announced

George Zimmerman listens as the verdict is announced that the jury finds him not guilty, on the 25th day of his trial at the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center in Sanford, Florida. (July 13, 2013) Credit: Getty Pool

It is getting somewhat tiring to continuously be told that the Florida "stand your ground" law is the culprit, either wholly or in part, in the supposed injustice of the George Zimmerman "not guilty" verdict ["Florida's foolish laws led to killing," Letters, July 17].

For the record, this statute played absolutely no role in the Zimmerman defense. His defense was based solely on that part of the law that allows for the use of deadly physical force to stop what one reasonably believes is the use of deadly physical force.

The Zimmerman defense argued that Trayvon Martin was on top of him and virtually in total control of Zimmerman's movement. In other words, Zimmerman was in no position to retreat because Martin was pummeling him, causing a number of documented bruises to his face and head. Under such circumstances, the defender does not have the option to stand his ground or retreat; that choice has effectively been removed from him by the alleged assailant, thus making the "stand your ground" law inapplicable.

There were several occasions when, after conferring with the Brooklyn district attorney's office, we jointly chose not to arrest someone who had used deadly physical force to defend themselves, or we presented the case to a grand jury -- as should have been done with Zimmerman -- to indict or not.

William Plackenmeyer, Deer Park

Editor's note: The writer is a retired detective division commander with the New York City Police Department.

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