HOUSTON -Rep. Garnet F. Coleman, (D-Houston) announced that he will fill legislation amending the Texas Castle Doctrine— the Texas version of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law.
He stated, “I understand being born a suspect because of the color of one’s skin and the constant stress one feels when treated as a suspicious person based solely on physical appearance. This is exactly what happened to Trayvon Martin–he was an African-American and born a suspect. In 2007, Texas passed SB 378, a law similar to Florida’s— where “walking while Black” becomes a crime and an excuse for someone to use deadly force if they believe it is necessary for protection. Many of my colleagues and I fought the passage of this bill, seeing the disproportionate consequences it would have on people of color.
A young life has been lost in Florida and we don’t need to see the same happen in Texas. The Texas Castle Doctrine too freely gives a license to use deadly force based on presumptions and needs to be corrected. In 2007, when we eliminated the duty to retreat from one’s home, car, workplace, or place where a person ‘has a right to be present’ before relying on deadly force for self-defense, we increased the likelihood of killing someone presumed to be dangerous and claiming it was justified. What was passed in 2007 was unnecessary— Texas law already allowed people to defend against deadly force with deadly force if they weren’t able to escape the situation. I will file legislation that returns Texas law to a balance that values human life, avoids violence when possible, and preserves the right to self-defense in clear situations of immediate life-threatening danger.”