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What's Up Sheepdogs? Ryan here with Tampa Carry.
On December 5, 2011, DEA agents prepared to raid the home of a suspected drug dealer in Miami, FL.
Three agents entered the front door, and two agents entered through the back. When Agent X made entry through the back door, he was face to face with the muzzle of a 12-gauge shotgun. Agent X was caught off guard and let out a loud scream as he rushed to orient his rifle to the threat and open fire, killing the suspect.
After the home was secured, it was time for Agent X to give his statement about the shooting:
“I made entry into the home. I swept left, then I swept right. That's when I identified the suspect, who was armed, so I opened fire”
It was at this point that Agent X’s supervisor interrupted the interview and pulled Agent X aside.
“You're telling this story like you are a Navy SEAL kicking in a door and killing a terrorist. I heard you scream like a girl from outside. Just tell the story the way it happened.”
Men typically don’t want people to see that we are vulnerable or afraid. However, during a self-defense shooting, this is the emotion 90% of people will have, and the other 10% of people are psychopaths.
Five Things That Will Be Used Against You
# 1. The 911 Call
We've already discussed the dangers of talking too much and using words that you don’t fully understand, so I'm not going to continue to beat a dead horse. What I do want to add is emotion. During your court proceedings, this 911 call is going to be played. Ask yourself, when the jury is listening to your 911 call, what emotion will they feel from your voice? Do you sound scared, angry, confident, or calm? How will this emotion help or hurt your case? I would never encourage you to lie or mislead anyone by portraying a false emotion. If you are scared, you need to sound scared. If you're fearful, you need to sound fearful. This is not the time to hide your emotions, but it is the time to guard your words very carefully. Let me be clear: I am not telling you to exaggerate your fear on the 911 call. I'm simply saying that you need to be honest.
# 2. Voluntary Statements to Law Enforcement
Everything you say and do when the police arrive will be used against you in court, and this includes voluntary statements. Remember, your goal is to keep your mouth shut when the police arrive. The only words that should come out of your mouth should be “I’m requesting my right to an attorney.” That's it. Recently I was speaking to a criminal defense attorney about some of the mistakes that his clients have made.
“People have a right to remain silent, my job would be a lot easier if people exercised that right.”
Everyone knows they are supposed to remain silent when the police arrive. However, very few people actually do it.
# 3. The Interrogation Room
After you request your right to an attorney, you will be brought in to the station to speak to your attorney and then a detective. During this time, you will be placed in an interrogation room alone for hours. As I'm sure you can imagine, this room will be recording everything that you do and say. You must remain on guard and avoid talking to yourself, or it could be used against you.
During his interrogation with Pinellas County detectives, Michael Drejka was notified that the man that he shot had passed away. Drejka simply looked at the detective and said, “Thanks for telling me.” The lack of remorse shown by Drejka after he was notified that he killed someone was evident, and the state prosecutor leveraged this to paint Drejka as a stone-cold killer.
The other way the interrogation room video was used against Drejka was the injury he received during the attack. When Marquise pushed Drejka on the ground, he landed on his right arm. The defense team attempted to use this injury to show that Drejka was severely hurt and had no other option but to use his weapon. However, if you watch the interrogation room video, you can see that at times Drejka seems to be favoring his right arm and at others it doesn't seem to be bothering him at all. You may not know this, but I deal with a tremendous amount of pain in my back every day. However, most people who meet me would never be able to tell. So I'm not saying Drejka wasn’t injured, but his lack of consistency in favoring his right arm was used against him by the prosecution.
# 4. Social Media Posts
Everything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law, and that includes things you've posted on social media. Last year I posted a question on Facebook that said, “What should you do after a self-defense shooting?”
I was shocked at the answers I received:
“I would take a selfie with the body.”
“Get a blood sample.”
I'm sure these individuals were joking. However, what you post on social media lives forever. Just imagine if one of these individuals was forced to use a firearm in self-defense. During the court proceedings, the defense would be attempting to convince the jury that the shooter was a safe and responsible firearms owner. When the prosecution shows the jury these posts, will they help or hurt the shooter?
# 5. Modifications Made to Your Firearm
Customizing your firearm is one of the best parts about being a gun owner. However, some modifications will be used against you in court. Some of these modifications would include engravings and trigger modifications. I'm not saying all engravings are detrimental to your case, but engravings that portray you as a bloodthirsty psychopath are. For example:
“Smile for the flash”
“Let the bodies hit the floor”
Pictures of dead bodies
The second type of modification that will have a negative impact on your case are modifications made to your trigger. If you change the manufacturer trigger at all, the prosecutor will attempt to say that you made the firearm discharge unintentionally. You're probably thinking to yourself, “Well, I'll just tell them I shot the attacker on purpose.” That's not how this works.
The prosecution will claim that your trigger modification made the firearm malfunction, leading to the death of the attacker, and the jury will believe them. You have to remember that the jury will not be made up of gun owners, and they will not understand that swapping out the trigger is a very common practice that doesn't cause the firearm to malfunction.
That's all I have for today. So until next time keep training and stay safe...
Ryan G. Thomas
P.S. You’re one step away from getting your Florida concealed carry permit….FAST & EASY…
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