Civil rights leaders, politicians rally for Jacksonville woman sentenced to 20 years for ‘warning shot’


Martin Luther King III was among the many protesters who participated in a rally in Jacksonville on July 13 in support of Marissa Alexander, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing what she says was a “warning shot” into the wall after a physical altercation with her husband, Rico Gray.

Protesters show their support for Marissa Alexander during a rally hosted at Hemming Park in Jacksonville on July 13. (PHOTOS BY PENNY DICKERSON/SPECIAL TO THE FLORIDA COURIER)

Her stand your ground defense was denied.

The mandatory 20-year sentence also has drawn national attention to Florida since the Trayvon Martin case.

Alexander’s case set off yet another controversy involving the law, which is under intense scrutiny after the shooting death of the Miami teen in Sanford. A task force established by Gov. Rick Scott is reviewing the state’s law.

‘Gross miscarriage of justice’
Congresswoman Corrine Brown, who has been outspoken about both cases, also was among the NAACP and community leaders, clergy and politicians who participated in the march and rally.

Before the rally, Isaiah Rumlin, president of the NAACP Jacksonville branch, said, “A gross miscarriage of justice occurred when Marissa Alexander, a repeat victim of domestic violence was sentenced to 20 years in jail for protecting her life.’’

“Florida’s unjust Criminal Justice System has repeatedly and disproportionately affected minorities. The 10-20-Life and Stand Your Ground Laws have not been consistently applied and we are sending a message that this will no longer be tolerated in our communities. We are putting elected officials on notice that we will hold them accountable to the oaths they took to protect and serve.

“Even if she is guilty of some crime and deserves some sort of sanction by the court,” he said, “the judge should have the authority to decide an appropriate sentence after hearing all the unique circumstances of the case.”

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