Florida Stand Your Ground Law At the Center of Controversy
Controversy over the Florida Stand Your Ground law spilled into the Florida Gubernatorial race after a white man shot a black man over a handicapped parking space and told police he was in “fear” of his life. Al Sharpton and the Democrats running for office are all calling for repeal of the law. Ron DeSantis (who is a lawyer) specifically said that Sheriff Gualtieri (who also has a law degree) didn’t properly “analyze” the law. Candidate Adam Putnam sided with the Sheriff, which has brought down the ire of Democrats.
“Adam Putnam slams Ron DeSantis for ‘siding with liberal Democrats’ on Stand Your Ground controversy…
— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) August 7, 2018
So let’s balance this political rhetoric for a minute. The Sheriff didn’t charge Drejka- not because of the law itself- but because of a court ruling that required the prosecution to PROVE that the person WASN’T in fear of their life. That is extremely tough to do, (something DeSantis should know) and Sheriff Gualtieri was correct that the person shoved could have been within the “bookends” of the law. So he turned the investigation over to the District Attorney, who can make the determination one way or the other.
The Sheriff risked losing the case for the Prosecution if he had charged the man at the time of the initial investigation. By giving investigators time to go through the tape again frame by frame, talking to witnesses, the prosecutors would be able to determine if they could justify the case in court. Sometimes a knee-jerk arrest is not the thing to do. It also doesn’t justify repealing an important self-defense statute.
We look at the initial surveillance footage and say that Drejka screwed up by shooting McGlockton, the man who shoved him down so hard. It was a travesty, of that there is no doubt, and on the surface it appears to be murder. Sometimes in jury instructions, however, attorneys will ask the panel to place themselves in the shoes of the original victim- how did that person feel at the time. It’s a literal crap shoot how they will vote.
Adam Putnam siding with Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri was correct. Law enforcement was between a rock and a hard place on that one. The Sheriff made the right call.
The other issue is the Stand Your Ground Law itself. Many activists swear that those laws are “racist” by nature. But the fact is, unpleasant or not, that if a person is threatening you – no matter what color they are – you should have the right to take care of the threat. Sometimes if you tried to flee, you’d get killed anyway. So being armed and able to neutralize the threat is important. Don’t let them repeal the Stand Your Ground law.
Oh, and Sheriff Gualtieri had the perfect response to Al Sharpton: “Go back to New York. Mind your own business.”
Featured photo: Screenshot- Sheriff Bob Gualtieri of Pinellas County