What Happens When A Black Man ‘Stands His Ground’ In Florida

Michael-Giles

Click pic to sign petition to commute Giles’ sentence.

Via Addicting Information:

It’s an unfortunate fact that certain states’ “Stand Your Ground” laws are getting tested more and more these days. In fact, in Florida alone, deaths that are ruled as “justifiable homicides” increased 283% between the time the law was enacted and 2010. This is now a sad reality, but many people would claim that the law is a good one since it allows people to defend themselves when they believe their lives are in danger. Much like the Jim Crow laws of the past, however, “Stand Your Ground” is beginning to look more and more like a racially biased law disguised in the cloak of legal necessity.

An obvious case of “Stand Your Ground.”

In what is quickly becoming a rallying call against the racial bias of “Stand Your Ground” laws, a young U.S. airman, Michael Giles, was sentenced to 25 years in a Florida prison after shooting a man, who happened to be attacking him, in the leg. That’s right:  no death actually occurred in the incident, but Giles was sentenced to 25 years. What makes this even more disheartening is the fact that, in an unrelated case, a Missouri man only received 20 years for actually murdering a man who was only leaving a residence.

The Giles case began when the young man, who had just finished out a second tour in the Middle East, went to a nightclub with his friends. At the club, a fight suddenly broke out outside between 30 to 40 different individuals. The young man was not even part of the fight, but fearing for his safety since he couldn’t find his friends, he retrieved a gun from his vehicle, which he had a concealed carry permit for, placed it in his pocket, and went to find his buddies.

A random attack on an innocent victim

While searching for his friends, a stranger came out of nowhere and punched Giles to the ground. This assailant even admitted that he planned on punching the first person that he came upon. In an obvious act of self defense — what “Stand Your Ground” laws are supposedly for — Giles shot his assailant in the leg. Unfortunately, several fragments broke away from the bullet and injured two others.

The young father of three, who was looking forward to a promising career in the military, was quickly arrested, charged with second-degree attempted murder, and convicted of a lesser charge which landed him in prison for what equates to a life sentence. Somehow, Jack Campbell, a Florida assistant attorney general, was able to look at the jury with a straight face and say:

“There is no self-defense that is applicable based on the evidence that’s before the jury.”

Because an admission from the “victim” saying that he randomly attacked Giles doesn’t prove Giles needed to defend himself.

Oh, wait.

Read the rest at Addicting Information.

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  • Artie

    Calling bullsh*t. It’s fact that SYG has been employed more by blacks than by whites in Florida. Check your statistics.

    • Jonas Planck

      MY statistics? They all come from unverified third party sources, so they’re unreliable.

      • sonicbphuct

        I checked my statistics and they’re fine. Also, they wish everyone a wonderful day and brilliant adventures. I get a lot of my stats from the broken homes of failed mathematicians and bio-chemistry dropouts. They like it better with me.

        • Jonas Planck

          Really? You vetted all your sources personally, and then checked up on each instance firsthand? I doubt it. Remember, everything is heresay until you have the proof right in front of you, and even then, someone might be pissing down your back to make you think it’s raining. A healthy dose of skepticism is a necessity in a nation run by pathological liars. Especially when it comes to statistics, which can very easily be framed to present a false impression just by tweaking the parameters a little. Me and Bill Gates, for instance, have an average net worth in the tens of billions, yet for some reason, I still have trouble making car payments on time.

          • sonicbphuct

            maybe you didn’t notice, my stats come from broken homes. please don’t cause them any undue insecurity. I love my stats more than I love peace and I will destroy your life, and you’re dog’s life (however, extended family is free to go) if you upset my stats. they are my children and I love them.

    • Eric_D_Read

      That’s not quite accurate. SYG has been used by black people at double their percentage of FL’s total population. (roughly 30% of SYG vs 16.6% of pop)

      • Dartmouth ’11

        First of all that stat isn’t referencing whether their use of SYG was successful or not, it’s simply saying that more blacks try to use the defense. Blacks are involved in more violent crimes as a percentage of the population, so of course they would also be involved in more SYG cases under that same logic. Did you know blacks are in court houses at a higher percentage than whites as a percentage of the population? No shit Sherlock!

    • https://twitter.com/anti_euclidean ÿ

      we don’t lie; we use statistics

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    The part that bothers me most is that, deep down inside, I like the core concept behind Stand Your Ground laws. I really do. It respects the fact that there are predatory persons in the world, and that sometimes the only choice a person has is to fight back with potentially deadly force, or be a victim. It’s understood that police are not expected or responsible for stopping crimes before they happen…theye xist to investigate and hopefully capture suspects that can then be brought to trial…AFTER the fact. Acknowledging that reality teaches us that we must expect reasonably to take steps for our own protection, and exercise good judgement about when and where to make use of force for our own safety. I appreciate all of this and consider it rational, reasonable and appropriate…

    …but I’m getting a little tired of a dual-standard in the judicial system that criminalizes non whites who employ the same judgement, using lawfully attained weapons, under correct circumstances…and lets even the wildest, craziest, most unjustified attacks by whites slip away scott free. It makes it painfully clear that, while not every communities law enforcement and judiciary are bigoted, some are blatantly biased and make no attempt to even hide it…and thats not acceptable. SYG are good laws…and we need to address the bad people twisting them…not dismantle the entire concept.

    • Calypso_1

      I reviewed ever single case tried in FL under this law when all the previous media circus was occurring and found no measurable racial bias in application of convictions under the law or defender/assailant ratios. You can look at the cases here – http://www.tampabay.com/stand-your-ground-law/data.

      If you look at this case more closely it does not meet the requirements for the law; just as many others in the data do not, regardless of race.

      If we are to address those that twist law through enforcement and judicial means, than media misrepresentations need be looked at as well.

    • Eric_D_Read

      Definitely. I also think the idea behind Stand Your Ground is far more sensible than trying to criminalize the fight or flight response.
      But damn, it shouldn’t be this hard to draw a basic distinction between justifiable self defense and someone itching for a confrontation.

    • TheThinker1958

      laws against violence were already in the books. “Stand your ground” is about the thinking of a person at the moment of shooting somebody. That’s what is wrong with that law. If someone doesn’t like somebody else or what he is doing, he will shoot him and then think what to say to a judge that makes sense. “South Park” made an episode about this. The hunter will say: “the animal is attacking me” and shot the deer, even though it was illegal. That’s exactly what is going on in Florida.

  • Jonas Planck

    Without accounting for the press’ sensationalist bias, it’s starting to look like the law isn’t so much racist as it is an incentive to make sure your target (would you prefer, “alleged assailant?”) is DEAD rather than disabled. Shoot to wound, or MISS your target, you get 2nd degree attempted murder. Shoot to kill and HIT your target, you get acquittal. Perhaps they’re trying to incentivize marksmanship.

    • InfvoCuernos

      This has been the case in general for a long time. The (faulty) logic behind this is that: if you are using a firearm, you presumably are afraid for your life, so any measure short of killing your assailant is deemed as proof that you weren’t really afraid for your life. Its incredibly stupid, and its been used as a tool by the anti-gun lobby to force the idea that anyone with a firearm is a psychopath bent on murder. I have had police tell me that dead men tell no tales- shooting to wound rather than kill is just setting yourself up for an enormous lawsuit. I think that is one of the main reasons Zimmerman walked, and I think that, plus the fact that this guy left the scene of danger and came back with a gun, and hit two bystanders in the process are why there is a different result ( and I won’t discount the possibility that its also because he’s black).

      • Hadrian999

        i disagree, there is really no such thing as “shooting to wound” pretty much anywhere you shoot can be fatal. if you introduce the idea of shooting to wound there may be a lower threshold to when people think they are justified in using a firearm. In my opinion it should remain at deadly force or nothing

        • InfvoCuernos

          I can see your point. Even “less than lethal” measures like bean bag rounds and “rubber” bullets can kill, so of course I would advocate the standard in firearms safety, which is “don’t point your gun at anything you don’t want to destroy”, but at the same time, surely you can see where a non-lethal wound that sends someone running out of the house or incapacitates them should be the last shot needed; in other words, you shouldn’t have to administer a coup de grace in order to prevent legal repercussions.

          • Hadrian999

            I think it is dangerous, for most people just hitting center mass in a highly stressful situation is going to be hard enough, asking them to shoot for an extremity could get them killed. If they are in a situation that warrants use of force i think that is too much to ask. I do agree there are some legal questions that need to be cleaned up such as your point about being sued as well as questions about when something stops being self defense, In my opinion you should not be able to claim self defense or the right to stand your ground in a situation that you instigate with reasonable knowledge that it could lead to confrontation.

          • Jonas Planck

            The thing is that very few of these national attention cases seem to warrant the use of deadly force. Bringing a gun to a fistfight doesn’t strike me as being very prudent, but again, how do you KNOW your attacker has no gun? You don’t. Ergo, we have a situation where everyone must arm themselves just in case, which ironically CREATES the problem for the previously existing solution.
            For my own part, I’ve found that not being an aggressive, combative prick goes a long way towards ensuring one’s personal safety in social situations.

          • Hadrian999

            I agree that not being a dick is the best defense and that many times self defense is not warranted but i do not think that when there is no other safe option a person shouldn’t be able to protect them self with deadly force. I do think self defense laws need to have clauses that void self defense if you willfully put yourself in a situation likely to lead to violence

          • Connie Perkins Hunt

            Having popcorn thrown in your face does not warrant deadly force. And that was a retired police chief that killed the 3 yr old’s father.

        • Jonas Planck

          To a population raised on action movies, I’m sure a lot of people probably think it’s “safe” to shoot someone in the shoulder or gut. This guy knew better, but he wasn’t shooting to kill, but to disable. That, counter-intuitively, turned out to be a mistake, thanks to the bizarre rules governing this sort of thing.
          The primary idiotic oversight of the law, however, is that nine times out of ten (as long as it’s not a war zone), just firing a gun harmlessly into the air or ground should be enough to make an attacker freeze in their tracks and back the hell off (provided they aren’t likewise armed, in which case, you’d probably shoot AT them rather than to scare them.). There have been cases in FLA where THAT was prosecuted as attempted 2nd degree murder. I can see why many would assume that it’s systemic racism deciding the outcome of these cases, especially when no cases are widely reported that indicate otherwise…

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          • InfvoCuernos

            I think when we talk about firearms, what needs to be addressed is rural vs. urban situations. Firing a warning shot into the air in the country is no big deal, but in a populated area, it brings a whole bunch of new problems with it. When I said that wounding someone shouldn’t be prosecuted as a worse crime than killing them, that’s what I meant. NOT being a dumbass and trying to hit the assailant in the arm. Nobody is advocating that, just that if you do take a shot, and it ends up not killing them, you shouldn’t be penalized for that. There are other laws built into the system that are also attempts at making it next to impossible to defend yourself without going to prison. For example, many states have a law about “brandishing a firearm”. What that means is if an assailant comes at you, and you pull your gun out, but don’t shoot him(or her) with it, you might be facing charges.

          • Connie Perkins Hunt

            Jonas You have given me something to do. I will do a search for white on white cases of self defense.

    • Hector James Haddow

      the guy was a soldier a decent marksman would know to avoid hitting a
      vital he in all likely hood had aimed for the leg intending to preform a
      disabling shot as opposed to a lethal one while someone who was
      untrained (like most American gun owners they don’t even have to do a
      basic firearm safety test to get buy the gun) would just be shooting in the general direction of the assailant it is possible to be fearful for your life and not intend to kill reasonable force differs not just on the situation but also on the person defending them selves he had training, he knew where to shoot in order to stop the attacker anything more than that would have been excessive force

      • Jonas Planck

        His aim was so good he shot for the leg while deliberately avoiding hitting the femoral artery? Not bad! Knowing my luck, if I tried something like that, the guy would end up bleeding out before the ambulance arrived. Of course, I’ve never tried to shoot anyone… at least, not with a hand-held sidearm… Side mounted plasma cannons are a whole ‘nother ballpark.

      • VaudeVillain

        Check the rank: Airman, that means Air Force, while they do have some infantrymen who are quite capable combatants accustomed to ugly firefights, most Airmen are primarily trained as mechanics of some variety. They do need to qualify with a rifle during basic training, partly as an artifact of their having once been part of the Army, but their standards are quite low and most are prohibited from even carrying a weapon while on duty.

        Anyway, I know a fair number of people who ARE trained for combat shooting, many of whom have actually participated in firefights, and the idea of a “disabling shot” as distinct from a “killing shot” is something none of them take seriously: all shots are intended to disable, some shots do this by killing, some by injuring, and some by frightening… the shooter doesn’t choose which happens, and doesn’t really care so long as the threat goes away.

        • Hadrian999

          most infantry are trained for center mass shooting anyway, shooting to wound is a good way to shoot a bystander.

          • VaudeVillain

            Exactly. Shooting for center of mass means that you will hit what you’re shooting and wound it. That wound may or may not be fatal, and that’s why God invented semi-auto.

  • TheThinker1958

    sadly, lawyers train to takes both sides of any argument and try to win. In Florida there are laws against and in favor of the same action. But the people in control (lawyers and judges) are still mainly white so they will pick and choose the arguments that will put in jail any black man. Justice is no completely blind.

  • Ted Heistman

    You were at a night club, some shit goes down, you go out to your car and get the gun, go back into the night club and later claim self defense? Self defense was leaving the club.

    • Ted Heistman

      25 years seems excessive, though.

      • Calypso_1

        FL mandatory min sentencing laws suck. The voters need to be taking a hard look at that instead of the media hype about SYG.

        • Hadrian999

          I don’t like any kind of mandatory minimums, its using the legal system to score political points or brutalize non violent offenders

          • Jin The Ninja

            totally agree.

    • VaudeVillain

      You are driving through your neighborhood, you see a kid walking behind some houses, so you grab your gun, get out of your car, chase him, then shoot him to death.

      I happen to know you think that is a reasonable course of action, so I ask… what, precisely, is more irrational about seeing a brawl outside of a nightclub, getting your gun, going in to get your friends so you can leave, then shooting some guy to death?

      I’m not saying either sounds like a smart thing to do that isn’t at all an unjustified and unnecessary taking of human life, just that the latter sounds no less like “self defense” than the former.

  • BuzzCoastin

    he musta forgot that he wasn’t in Afghanistan anymore &
    forgot he was black man in FLA

    • sonicbphuct

      oddly, i thought the military trained folks to be aware of their environment. It’s fucking florida, man.

  • godozo

    Is the mainstream press biased against guns? Let’s look at the evidence, based on the stories we’ve seen so far:

    1: (Hispanic) man feels threatened by black man, hunts kid down, shoots him and acts to insure that the kid dies in the most painful way imaginable. Judge does everything in his power short of saying “You’re going to declare the defendant Not Guilty, and if I hear any sign of rebellion I’m going to kick out the recalcitrant member and charge him/her with capital murder” to insure a Not Guilty verdict, which is what comes out. Very egregious, indeed.

    2: At about this time a woman who shoots at her abusive husband (to scare him off) gets attempted murder and jail time.

    3: A Black Military man shoots and injures “someone who just wanted to punch someone” (translation: puncher saw a black man and decided to punch him), and gets 25 years in jail.

    Meanwhile Concealed Carry is a truly legitimate law of the land, having been willingly passed by 49 State Legislatures (leaving Illinois to be forced into line by their State Supreme Court), many states have Stand Your Ground laws (THE proper companion to Concealed Carry, since it makes no sense to carry a gun around if you can’t use it) with more states on the way (The Trend Is Your Friend) and already I’ve heard talk of Open Carry. The Mainstream/Lamestream/Government Controlled/Richman’s (take your pick) Media finds itself unable to control pro-gun opinion NOR that opinion’s ability to translate into laws and changing other’s opinions, so it brings out the trope of “Historical Racism Raises Its Ugly Head.” One sympathetic Black victim plus two sympathetic Black shooters getting punished for not killing translates to “SYG is a racist law,” in an attempt to grab at SOME sort of high ground.

    And while that doesn’t damn the Mainstream Media for trying to take a stand (Neutrality is a fiction based on 1950’s television regulations), it does show just how weak and desperate the Mainstream Media (or what remains of them) has become.

  • Sarcasmo

    If a cop were in the place of the airman and the exact scenario played out, he would be hailed a hero, no matter what color. just sayin

    • Hadrian999

      he would have missed his assailant hit 6 bystanders then Tarazed a disabled person.

  • Hadrian999

    the most shocking part of this case is the fact that someone was convicted in florida

    • Eric_D_Read

      Not really. The unofficial FL state motto is, “Come on vacation. Leave on probation.”

      • Hadrian999

        they must just choke on the big cases then

        • Eric_D_Read

          Or they prioritize quantity over quality because more money.

  • Sean VEXFTW

    Sorry, but the example you are using for racial inequality sucks. One of the first things they teach you in a CHL class is to diffuse the situation. To avoid having to use deadly force in the first place. This clown left the club, went to his car to get his gun, and then proceeded to head back into the fray. THIS is why he was sentenced. How are you to know that his testimony wasn’t complete BS and that his real motivation wasn’t revenge? He landed himself in prison because he knowingly aggravated the situation.
    I’m also going to just go ahead and put it out there – people need to start asking the real question here. The one that everyone avoids because of the current state of hypersensitivity. The black community needs to take responsibility for the sub culture that they created, and which they continue to perpetuate, which further feeds into this insanity. If you walk along and act and look like a thug, I am going to treat you as one. Same thing if you see some white kid that’s all punked out. You already have a mental perception of that person as well, that they could very well hurl a beer bottle at your head for no reason.
    Stop blaming the damn race card and lets face facts. Until the black community owns up to this monster that has been created via their own ignorant behavior, this will all continue to happen.

    • Betty Eyer

      “he landed himself in prison because he knowingly aggravated the situation”

      And George Zimmerman did not do that? Zimmerman CREATED the situation and he got off scott free. The whole point of SYG is that you don’t need to retreat!

      • Doug

        Ok, then why should Zimmerman have to retreat? At the time he belonged to neighborhood watch and there were a rash of robberies in the community. So why should he back down and let a potential suspect move around unobserved in his community? Had Martin been responsible for the break ins, and Zimmerman kept an eye on him until the police arrived he would have been a hero. Had he not kept an eye on him and he got away then he would have been a failure. The biggest problem was a lack of communication on both sides. There was evidence presented that racial profiling may have been a motive for the weak communication. Martin’s “girlfriend” testified, under oath, that he was using the word “cracker” to identify Zimmerman. So yes there was obvious racial profiling on one side. If that also pertained to Zimmerman, there was no evidence shown. Had both of them engaged in a civil conversation with each other the whole thing wouldn’t have happened. They simply both needed to identify themselves to each other in a cordial manner and things would have been cleared up and Martin would still be alive. But it didn’t happen that way and a fight ensued where Martin, according to eye witnesses, was pounding Zimmerman’s head into the ground. Getting one’s head slammed into the ground can very easily cause serious injury or death. Should Zimmerman have waited until he was knocked unconscious to react? If I see someone unfamiliar or suspicious lurking around my neighborhood I’m going to keep an eye on them too. That’s what good neighbors do for each other. If I’m concerned about his intentions I’m going to approach and talk to him. If for that reason he decides to attack me then he’ll probably get shot in just the same way. It’s not really possible to tell if someone is planning on killing you or not when they are hitting you and slamming your head onto concrete. You have to assume that they mean you great bodily harm. If he’s legitimately there, then all he has to do is explain, without calling someone a cracker first, and the situation deescalates. One can argue that Zimmerman isn’t allowed to have a gun on patrol, which is true. However, he wasn’t on patrol when he saw Martin. He was on his way to go shopping and he was legally allowed to carry the weapon at that time. He saw martin out of pure coincidence. He then did the right thing and called the cops, who told him to wait there for the patrol car. He then lost sight of Martin and told the dispatcher on the line that he was going to follow so that Martin didn’t get away before the patrol car arrived. The dispatcher allowed this and took his cell number so that the officer could call Zimmerman when he got there to find the location. That was all on the tape that they played for the court. Many forget that Martin was in a gated community when the incident happened. Entrance is restricted to residents and their guests. Zimmerman did not recognize Martin as a resident and he did not identify himself as a guest. So did Zimmerman, as a resident of that gated community, not also have an SYG right? There were fatal mistakes made on both sides, the worse was a lack of respect and the inability to communicate like 2 civilized people. But that’s the only thing that Zimmerman is guilty of, and that’s, unfortunately, not a crime. By the way, just for the record, Zimmerman did not even use a SYG defense.

        • Andrew

          Google “witness 9.”

        • Betty Eyer

          The problem was not a lack of communication on both sides. The problem was that Zimmerman violated neighborhood watch policy by getting out of his car and pursuing the suspicious person with a gun both of which are against advice of neighborhood watch and the dispatcher. The police were already on their way and arrived promptly.

          But all that aside, both of them failed to retreat and both of them seem to have some argument for self defense. To me, either they should both be guilty or they should both be innocent. You can’t say that this guy should not have gotten into the thick of it and then say it’s fine for Zimmerman to chase a stranger with a gun.

  • Dave Majkowski

    Bullshit. You use cases blown out of proportion in the media as your basis for argument? LOL

  • Betty Eyer

    that is not true. Two different university based studies have shown exactly the opposite to be true.

  • Betty Eyer

    You are completely missing my point. I am not questioning whether or not it is legal for Zimmerman to carry a gun. I’m saying that since he, by his own words, was chasing Martin and believed Martin to be dangerous, he is partly responsible for causing the situation that resulted in the shooting. And this young soldier also did the same thing, he went into a fight with a gun. To me, the fact that the soldier was trying to defend his friends is more of a justification than Zimmerman’s vigilante mind set. But whatever, if you find that it’s OK for Zimmerman to go looking for a fight with a gun, then it should be OK for this guy to do the same thing. OR they are both wrong.

  • Grits.N.Jowls

    I agree with the conviction; I don’t agree with the sentence. He should have left the fight scene not gone back with his gun and if he was so fearful of being attacked he should have shot to kill his attacker with SYG it’s all or nothing.

    • Matt Staggs

      Leave if you can, fight if you must.

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