Deadly force is justified when faced with the immediate and otherwise unavoidable danger of death or grave bodily harm to the innocent. The object is to stop the perpetrator, not to kill them; that is, to stop the felonious attack against the innocent parties. Investigators will have to determine if a shooting which followed a beating in a parking lot somewhere in America recently.
The video begins with a confrontation between a very large man against a much smaller man while the smaller man found himself effectively trapped in the open door of a car.
After taking a massive punch to the head, the trapped man drew from an appendix carry rig while under continued attack from the big guy. He started shooting and the big guy suddenly ran – indeed FLEW – away with the greatest of ease. Briefly, at least.
Justified? pic.twitter.com/IuJmaQUqIz— AlphaFox (@Alphafox78) July 7, 2023
Before I offer a quick analysis, remember that very few self-defense shootings are perfectly righteous. They generally could always have been handled better. However, detached reflection (such as mine and yours) is not required in the presence of an upraised knife. That’s longstanding jurisprudence first articulated as such by former US Supreme Court Chief Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes.
More recently, a US Supreme Court case Graham v. Connor that says that the defender’s actions don’t have to be perfect, they just have to be reasonable. Objectively reasonable if you want to get deeper into it.
So here’s mine. Please share yours in comments.
Watching the whole video, which has footage from a second perspective that’s up close and personal offers us more very useful information to use in our analysis.
Clearly the aggressor is showing tons pre-violence indicators. Meanwhile the defender is effectively trapped in an open door but he’s not backing down. He would have done himself a favor if he had raised his hands into a surrender position to potentially block a knock-out punch AND to communicate with passersby that he wanted no trouble. More significantly, notice the size difference between the two. Yeah, they are dressed, but it’s clear the aggressor is much bigger, at least half-again bigger than the kid with the nervous grin on his face. In a “monster” vs. a small person, the little person will almost always suffer serious injuries. Point #1 for the kid: Disparity of force.
Then comes the punch which violently knocks the kid into next week and into the car all at the same time. The kid responds by clearing his cover garment and drawing from an appendix carry. The aggressor realizes, “Oh crap, I’m in trouble now” and tries to wrest control of the gun from the kid.
*IF* the big guy had not tried to reach in through the window to disarm the kid and instead turned tail and run immediately, the kid’s self-defense claim would likely have largely evaporated. But he didn’t. He tried to grab the gun.
In the eyes of the law, anyone who attempts to unlawfully disarm you is, for all intents and purposes, armed with said weapon and you can use whatever force is reasonably necessary to retain your weapon. Point #2 for the kid: Attempted disarm.
The armed kid manages to get off at least two, maybe three shots before the aggressor starts his best efforts at unassisted human flight. Meanwhile the kid comes up shooting four-ish additional shots, all in a single string of pop-pop-pop-pop… you get the idea. There was no pew, pew, pew, then a pause and then four more pews. The fact that three or four of the shots likely hit the aggressor in the back (or were fired as he
ran flew for his life) as part of a series isn’t as big of a problem as if he fired a few times, took a momentary break then fired more shots. There’s more I won’t go into here, but my assessment is that the kid’s use of force wasn’t perfect, but it was reasonable.
I can’t find a news report on this but here’s my prediction: The prosecutor will charge the kid with murder. Why? Because Attorney Steve Davis’ (former GSL President) Rule #1: If you shoot an “unarmed” attacker, even righteously, you’re gonna get prosecuted.
With competent legal representation, the kid should get an acquittal.