Zimmerman Attorney: NAACP-Pushed 'Trayvon's Law' Probably Wouldn't Have Changed Anything

NAACP-proposed package would codify 'best practices' for neighborhood watchmen and repeal 'stand your ground' laws.

Jesse Jackson listens to Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, during a press conference demandng repeal of Florida's "stand your ground" law in Miami Beach, Fla., July 29, 2013.
Jesse Jackson listens to Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, during a press conference demandng repeal of Florida's "stand your ground" law in Miami Beach, Fla., July 29, 2013.

The NAACP-proposed package of legal reforms dubbed "Trayvon's Law" – in reaction to Trayvon Martin's February 2012 death – would explicitly prohibit racial profiling by police, codify "best practices" for neighborhood watchmen and repeal "stand your ground" laws.

But if these recommendations were law before Martin was shot, would they have changed anything?

"The quick answer is no," says attorney Mark O'Mara, the public face of George Zimmerman's defense team.

Zimmerman, the neighborhood watchman who shot Martin during an altercation, was found not guilty of second-degree murder July 13 by six jurors. The defense successfully argued Zimmerman shot Martin in self-defense after the teenager slammed his head against a concrete sidewalk.

[RELATED: Gun Owners Upset By Holder's 'Duty to Retreat' Speech]

The NAACP proposal encourages states to replace "stand your ground" laws, which allow attack victims to use force without first fleeing, with policies requiring attack victims to retreat – if possible – before using deadly force as a last resort.

Despite intense media focus on Florida's "stand your ground" law, it was not invoked by defense attorneys at trial.

"George's case was not a 'stand your ground' case, but rather a traditional self-defense case where he reacted to force likely to cause great bodily injury, where he did not have an opportunity to retreat," O'Mara told U.S. News.

A "best practice" for neighborhood watchmen advocated in the "Trayvon's Law" package would encourage the volunteers not to carry weapons. That change, too, wouldn't have changed the Martin-Zimmerman situation, says O'Mara.

[READ: Obama Compares Himself to Trayvon Martin]

These photos released by the State Attorney's Office show George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot Trayvon Martin, the night of the shooting. (State Attorney's Office/AP)

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Zimmerman had a concealed carry license for the handgun used to shoot Martin. He "was not on 'patrol' as a [neighborhood watch] person, as he was heading to Target and was lawfully carrying his concealed weapon," O'Mara said.

The NAACP proposal would outlaw racial profiling by police and suggests that neighborhood watch volunteers receive anti-profiling training. The relevance of these proposals to the case is also disputed by O'Mara.

"There is absolutely no evidence that George racially profiled Trayvon Martin," according to O'Mara. "Rather all evidence gathered by the FBI and local law enforcement shows that George was affirmatively non-racist."

[READ: Where Can Stevie Wonder Perform, Per His 'Stand Your Ground' Boycott?]

The package additionally calls for civilian oversight boards to review complaints of police misconduct and a disaggregation of homicide statistics by race, ethnicity, gender, age and ZIP code.

The Sanford, Fla., police department – the first law enforcement agency to investigate the shooting – "actually did a good investigative job on this case," O'Mara counters.

NAACP President Benjamin Jealous heralded the proposal in a statement as "the foundation for community advocates as they work to end laws and practices that contributed to [Martin's] death." Some of the recommendations have been adopted as demands by protesters camping out at the Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee.

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