While I respect Barack Obama's--and my--Harvard Law professor, Charles Ogletree, he stepped over the line today when he joined Al Sharpton's race-baiting mob in Washington, DC and said: "I want to see the first black man who uses the 'stand your ground' defense and see if it works. I want to see the first white victim of 'stand your ground' by a black defendant and see if it works."
I know Prof. Ogletree well enough to know he was not calling for murder, but his divisive remarks certainly showed a callous disregard for the potential victim of such a killing.
Ogletree also betrayed a lack of research into the stand your ground defense--an indefensible lapse, given his stature as a lawyer and teacher, and given the inflammatory nature of his statement.
Last month, the Tampa Bay Times compiled a list of 140 cases since 2005 in which the stand your ground law had been invoked in Florida alone. Among those 140 cases, the newspaper reported, there were 11 in which the circumstances were similar to those in which George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin.
One case from 2009 involved a black defendant, Demarro Battle, who was initially charged with second-degree murder for shooting and killing an unarmed white male, Omar Bonilla (whose race was confirmed today by the Fort Myers Police Department). The charges were dropped by the state because of the stand your ground law.
That is just one case, from one state among the several that have stand your ground laws.
At Breitbart.com, we've sought to avoid the damaging tit-for-tat reporting of crimes committed by one race or another, because that is exactly the kind of divisive debate the left and the mainstream media want us to have about the Martin case.
But since this example concerns a defense, rather than a crime, an exception is appropriate. Ogletree is wrong--and must be called out before the Soledad O'Briens of the world cite his false and incendiary arguments to push their left-wing political agenda.
Whatever the merit--or otherwise--of the stand your ground defense, injecting race into the debate without justification serves only to inflame the outrage that Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and now Eric Holder have sought to create around the Trayvon Martin case.
President Obama and his re-election campaign have likewise sought to use that outrage to exploit political divisions and mobilize their supporters, even selling campaign-themed hoodies at one stage.
Prof. Ogletree should advise his former student to stop his cynical race-baiting--for Trayvon Martin's sake, at least--not join the mob of would-be vigilantes in spreading hatred and ignorance throughout the nation.
ON BREITBART TV