A man has been shot and killed in Florida and it apparently all happened because of an argument over a parking space.
The altercation was caught on video.
Here it is.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) July 23, 2018
The man who pulled the trigger is apparently being let off the hook due to Florida’s infamous stand your ground law.
From NBC News:
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said at a news conference Friday that the two were arguing over whether Jacobs could be in that parking space.
Gualtieri said that the video does appear to show Drejka protecting himself, so his agency does not have an authority to make an arrest “unless we have probable cause that the person committed a crime.”
“Markeis should not have gone up and slammed this guy to the ground. Markeis wouldn’t be dead if Markeis didn’t slam this guy to the ground,” Gualtieri added. “So Markeis has got skin in this game, too. And the reason why it makes it justified, and within the framework of ‘stand your ground,’ is because of what Markeis did.”
He said that it will fall on the state to determine whether Drejka was “not entitled to use force in this circumstance.”
David French explains why that’s ridiculous.
From National Review:
First, let’s deal with the applicable statute. The stand-your-ground law most assuredly does not grant citizens the right to use deadly force whenever they believe they are “in harm” (whatever that means). Here’s what Chapter 776 of the 2108 Florida statute, “Justifiable Use of Force,” says:
(1) A person is justified in using or threatening to use force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. A person who uses or threatens to use force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat before using or threatening to use such force.
(2) A person is justified in using or threatening to use deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. A person who uses or threatens to use deadly force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground if the person using or threatening to use the deadly force is not engaged in a criminal activity and is in a place where he or she has a right to be.
Note that the statutes contemplates two very different circumstances, one where a person is authorized to use “force, except deadly force” and the other where “deadly force” is authorized. So, no, not every punch, kick, push, shove, or fear of “harm” grants a person the right to pull his gun and shoot. It just grants him the right to punch or push back. That’s it. It would be utterly absurd if every physical altercation immediately granted the victim a license to kill. That’s not the law.
It’s really impossible to watch that video and come to the conclusion that the guy who was pushed was about to die and it’s also pretty ridiculous to say that the stand your ground law lets this guy off the hook.
You should never push someone you don’t know over a parking spot but you also shouldn’t be killed if you do.
Read the rest of French’s piece. It’s a good one. Here’s how he wraps it up.
America’s armed citizens should be the most vigilant about enforcing not just the law but also the norms and values of gun ownership. And, on that score, the concealed-carry community is remarkably successful. The available evidence indicates that it’s more law-abiding even than the police. As a person who has long carried a gun, I know that these statistics are no accident. The concealed-carry community preaches and practices responsibility and prudence. It also seeks justice, and justice demands that Michael Drejka face a jury of his peers. Any other decision discredits stand-your-ground laws and cheapens human life. A shove should not be punishable by death.
Gun owners will probably have a lot of different opinions on this but there’s going to be plenty of people out there on both sides of the gun debate that don’t think deadly force was justified here.