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July 16th, 2013
06:51 PM ET

Prosecutor: Holder raises concerns, not hopes

In an address to the NAACP national convention in Orlando Tuesday, Attorney General Eric Holder criticized the "stand your ground" laws that allow for the use of deadly force in life-threatening situations.

"It’s time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods," said Holder. "These laws try to fix something that was never broken."

Speaking to the NAACP, whose online petition calling for federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman just reached one million signatures, Holder did not unduly raise expectations, according to veteran prosecutor Paul Henderson.

"I believe he's speaking on behalf of the administration," said Henderson. "I think [not discussing the charges] was purposeful because the federal charges are very difficult given the circumstances to move forward on."

Holder did confirm the Justice Department's commitment to its open investigation into Trayvon Martin's murder.

"This tragedy provides yet another opportunity for our nation to speak honestly – and openly – about the complicated and emotionally-charged issues that this case has raised," said Holder.

A day after describing Martin's death as "unnecessary", Holder also said the "stand your ground" laws that overshadowed Zimmerman's trial "undermine public safety."

"I for one appreciate, as an attorney and as a community member, that his approach in addressing this issue starts with one, acknowledging the community sentiments and then also talking about the danger of expanding self-defense laws," said Henderson.

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