From afar, Scott praised the students for their persistence. “I think it is great that people are exercising their voices,” he said Wednesday in Pensacola.
Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee, has made repeat visits to the Capitol on behalf of the black legislative caucus he chairs and chided Scott for spending Tuesday night in the mansion and leaving “under the cover of darkness.”
Late Thursday, Williams released a statement saying, “They’re not here just for a brief conversation with the governor. They’re protesting because they rightfully believe the streets of our state are not safe for them under a 'stand your ground’ law that is unjust and should be repealed.”
Scott is getting hundreds of emails from angry constituents on both sides of the case. Some want a repeal of the self-defense law while others criticize Scott’s choice of special prosecutor Angela Corey.
Still others want Scott to take a more forceful stand. Ralph Warmack of Gulfport, unhappy with liberals who “stir up racism in America,” told Scott to “speak up loud and clear for Floridians against any further meddling.”
Scott also must deal with a possible boycott of Florida at a time when he’s touting the state’s popularity as a tourist destination as proof of a rejuvenated economy.
Asked how seriously he takes the boycott threat, Scott said Wednesday: “This thing should not be politicized. We lost a 17-year-old young man in our state.”
At the Bradenton event at Mixon Fruit Farms, Ernie Withers, manager of a Sarasota Mercedes-Benz dealership, asked Scott whether he favored repeal of the “stand your ground” law.
“We have a jury system that is a sacred part of our country, and these six women put their lives on hold and it had to be a tough, emotional case. They did their job,” Scott said. “I can’t imagine losing a 17-year-old. I’ve got daughters 28 and 30, and I have a grandson and two more on the way. I would not want to lose one of them, and I’m sure that family, their lives has changed. We should mourn with them.”
Tampa Bay Times staff writers Drew Harwell, Michael Van Sickler and Bradenton Herald reporter Charles Schelle contributed to this report, which includes information from the Associated Press. Contact Steve Bousquet at email@example.com or 850-224-7263.