Just months after George Zimmerman was acquitted of murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, the Florida city where the incident occurred
intends to ban neighbourhood watch membersfrom carrying guns, The Orlando Sentinel reports.
The ban on guns in Sanford, Fla. comes amid other changes, including formal training and volunteer registration, which will be announced in full at a meeting Nov. 5 at City Hall. Residents acting in a neighbourhood watch role are also not to follow someone they deem suspicious, according to MSN News.
“Neighbourhood watch was always intended to be a program where you observe what is going on and report it to police,” Shannon Cordingly, spokeswoman for the Sanford Police Department, told MSN. “In light of everything that has gone on, that’s what we’re really going to go back and push. That’s what this program is and that’s all it is.”
Sanford Police Chief Cecil Smith has been critical of George Zimmerman for following Trayvon Martin, a teenager walking through the neighbourhood he deemed suspicious.
“We’ve seen this happen already, where an individual was declaring that under the auspice of neighbourhood watch, he was performing a duty that he wasn’t,” Smith told News 13. “There was really no accountability. There was no true recognition. There were concerns with regards to training.”
A police spokeswoman said that that neighbourhood watch members who violate the new rules would face removal from the program, but would not be charged with any crime, according to MSN News.
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