*Sybrina Fulton, the mother of slain teenager Trayvon Martin, made an impassioned plea before a congressional committee Tuesday to amend "stand your ground" self-defense laws.
Fulton testified at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing scheduled in the wake of George Zimmerman's acquittal in the 2012 death of Martin, who was shot while walking home unarmed in Sanford, Fla. The jury's decision in July sparked nationwide outrage, as protesters took to the streets to decry racial profiling and demand a review of stand your ground laws.
"It's very hurtful to know that Trayvon was only simply going to the store to get snacks. Nothing more, nothing less," Fulton said. "It's important to keep that in mind, because teenagers like to be independent at times. And he was simply going to get a drink and some candy." READ MORE
"That tells me right there his mentality," she added. "He wasn't going to get cigarettes or bullets or condoms or items of that nature. He was going to get candy. He was not looking for any type of trouble. He was not committing any type of crime."
It was Fulton's first appearance before members of Congress, who showed signs of taking up the application of stand your ground laws in the immediate aftermath of Zimmerman's not-guilty verdict. The laws, which exist in some form in about 30 states, allow a person to use deadly force in self-defense, rather than retreat, when they feel threatened with "great bodily harm.
Tracy Martin, Trayvon's father, spoke a week after Zimmerman's acquittal at the inaugural meeting of the Congressional Caucus on Black Men and Boys, where lawmakers pledged to renew the debate on race and racial profiling in the United States. President Barack Obama addressed the issue in what were widely regarded as unprecedented remarks about his personal history with racial bias.