Oklahomans respond to Zimmerman verdict and remember Ersland

Oklahomans respond to Zimmerman verdict and remember Ersland

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OKLAHOMA CITY -

Jerome Ersland's attorney, Doug Friesen watched as an all-female jury in Florida determined the fate of George Zimmerman.

"You shouldn't bring a sidewalk to a gunfight and that's essentially what happened," said Friesen, referring to testimony on how Martin beat Zimmerman's head on a sidewalk.

The verdict: "not guilty."  

Friesen says he believes the jury made the right decision. He says the "Stand Your Ground" laws in Oklahoma and Florida are similar, the statutes both give people leverage to open fire when they believe their lives are in danger, like Ersland and Zimmerman.

"Wherever you are attacked, you're able to defend yourself," said Friesen.

Unlike Zimmerman, Ersland was found guilty.  Ersland was working as a pharmacist at Reliable Pharmacy when he shot 16-year old Antwun Parker to death.  Parker and Jevontai Ingrahm tried to rob the pharmacy, but failed.

"During the Ersland trial, the 'Stand Your Ground' law didn't apply to businesses," said Sen. Ralph Shortey (R-Oklahoma City), a long time supporter of Ersland.

Shortey echoes Friesen's sentiment on the verdict in the Zimmerman case, but civil rights leader, Rev. Jesse Jackson emphasizes Trayvon Martin, the young man Zimmerman killed, was a 17-year old African American male with no weapon, just a hoodie, Skittles, and drink.

"This is a classic case of racial profiling," said Jackson, in an exclusive interview with Fox-25.

Jackson also says Zimmerman crossed the line and violated police orders by following Martin before the altercation.

"He shouldn't have pursued him in the first place," he said.   

The verdict in the Zimmerman trial led to tremendous public outcry, Friesen says it's an indication that in cases like Zimmerman's and Ersland's, race still matters.

"It simply shouldn't have an effect, but I think that's not a political reality," said Friesen.

Ersland is currently serving a life sentence.  Friesen plans to file an appeal in federal court.

 

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