Thursday, January 16, 2014

In FL Movie Theater During Previews: Man Texting, Ex‑Cop Tells Him To Stop, Man Throws Popcorn, Cop Whips Out Gun And Shoots Him Dead. 'Stand Your Ground'?

Via BadTux, from Christian Science Monitor:

Florida theater shooting: Will suspect's age open door to ‘stand your ground’?

Curtis Reeves was charged with second-degree murder in the shooting of a man in a Florida movie theater after officials decided 'stand your ground' didn't apply. But his age, 71, could create leeway.


Curtis Reeves, the retired police captain who allegedly shot and killed a man who threw popcorn at him at a showing of “Lone Survivor” near Tampa on Monday, will remain in jail after a judge denied a bond request Tuesday.

Mr. Reeves was charged with second-degree murder after Pasco County, Fla., law enforcement officials considered and rejected the notion that the shooting of 43-year-old Chad Oulson inside the Wesley Chapel, Fla., movieplex was justified under the state’s hotly-debated “stand your ground” law, ...

The possible hitch is that Reeves's age, 71, may create leeway in how much threat is required to make him feel in serious danger. Two things come to my mind:

1) Reeves is a retired cop, and his gun was carried legally. But that should make him less inclined, not more, to resort to firing shots in a theater. I can't imagine most cops would whip out their guns when someone throws popcorn at them, even if they threw the whole bag at them. Good judgment is an absolutely essential ingredient in the makeup of a qualified law enforcement officer.

2) The cop felt mortally threatened, even though he looks like... this?

Jeebus! Why would that man, armed or not, fear any living person?

Face it: "stand your ground" is a flawed law. In at least its most famous application to date (George Zimmerman killing Trayvon Martin), the law seems to require no clear standard of exercise of judgment on the part of the person standing his/her ground. Somehow that needs to be fixed, before we end up with a lot of Floridians dead and a lot of marginally homicidal individuals set free by the law.

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