WESLEY CHAPEL, FLORIDA — A former Florida police captain may now face second degree murder charges in connection to the shooting death of a fellow matinee attendee. According to court documents sourced by the Washington Times, Curtis Reeves, 74, was denied a motion to have charges dismissed on account of Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws. Such laws generally allow for an individual to defend himself and not retreat from a threat so long as he has every legal right to be in a specific place.
The judge dismissed the motion based upon evidence that contradicts Reeves’ proclaimed self-defense.
via the Washington Times
“Because the defendant’s testimony was significantly at odds with the physical evidence and other witness testimony, this court has considerable doubts about his credibility, and is not willing to come to the conclusion that these circumstances are those envisioned by the legislature when the ‘stand your ground’ law was enacted,” the judge ruled.
Now, in all honesty, that evidence that apparently contradicts Reeves’ claim was not published in that Washington Post article. The article’s author specifically references video surveillance and witness testimony which countermands Reeves’ assertions.
The conflict began, apparently, when the victim’s cell phone rang and Reeves got into a dispute about basic etiquette. He asserts that the man grabbed him and, fearing for his life, he drew his concealed carry handgun and shot the man. If that side of the story is not disproved by evidence, it would stand due to ‘innocence until proven guilty’. Following that, the assumption of ‘Stand Your Ground’ defense would hold.
So, apparently enough evidence exists to stand as evidence that this man did not fear directly for his life to such a degree he needed to shoot and kill another man.
That has yet been determined by jury and judge. So far as this case is concerned, the judge has only ruled that the ‘Stand Your Ground’ defense, in of itself, will not be sufficient to dismiss the second degree murder charge.
This is an excellent example of real life bad gun use scenarios.
There IS a chance that Reeves legitimately did feel threatened and the victim did, indeed, threaten this man to such a degree he feared imminent harm would come to him. That will have to be determined in a court of law.
The attorney fees relating to this type of case, alone, is enough to bankrupt even those with considerable savings. Even if the charges do not hold and he is not convicted, the type of legal expenses that can go into this type of case can range from the hundreds of thousands of dollars to several million.
This harkens back to another case, in California, where a property owner shot a trespasser. Unlike that case, where the thief was shot in the back, the former police captain directly shot his supposed aggressor. And unlike that case, he was surrounded by witnesses and under video surveillance.
These two elements can make his case so much harder in court. And, it should stand as a reminder to any concealed carrier, any conflict we can feasibly get out of — we should. As annoying as it is for other people to interrupt our day, whether it be on the road or in a movie theater, it’s far better to avoid the fallout and calamity that is sure to follow if we use force in a situation where we could otherwise avoid conflict. That’s a personal choice each of us have to make and it takes a great deal of situational awareness to be cognizant of not just that which we see around us but that which may affect us psychologically.
Carry responsibly, carry everyday.