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What Would You Do?
What's Up Sheepdogs? Ryan here with Tampa Carry.
On February 2, 2020, Alvin Cole, a 17-year-old young man, was shot and killed outside of the Mayfair Mall in Wauwatosa, WI.
Prior to the shooting, Cole and his friends got into a heated argument with another person inside the mall. It was at this point that Cole allegedly threatened to shoot this other man. According to media outlets, Alvin was also brandishing a firearm that would later be identified as stolen.
When the police arrived, Cole and his friends scattered through the parking lot. Allegedly, as Cole was running with the firearm in his hand, he fired a shot at the police officer. At this point, the officer opened fire.
On October 7, the Milwaukee County District Attorney announced that he was not going to press charges against the police officer involved, Joseph Mensah, because he had a reasonable belief of imminent death.
Immediately, people began protesting the death of Cole, which was very confusing to me because he was carrying a firearm illegally, the firearm was stolen, he was threatening to shoot innocent people, he ran from the police, and he fired the gun at the police.
What really pisses me off about these kinds of situations is that it's like the boy who cried wolf. I understand that there are bad police out there. I get that the police sometimes do the wrong thing and they end up killing somebody who should not have been killed. It should never happen, but sometimes it does. In situations like that, it is very justified for people in the community to be very upset with what's happening and seek justice.
But this was an extremely justified shooting — more justified than could be justified. It's a criminal with a handgun who threatens to shoot other people and allegedly attempts to shoot a police officer. The only option is for Cole to get shot.
What bothers me about this is when they protest and riot over this kind of shooting, it takes away from the families who really do have a justified, legitimate claim to police brutality. It takes away from the families who have a legitimate claim of racism from the police or another authority.
After these protestors found out that the district attorney was not going to press charges against Mensah, they took to the streets. The protest started out peaceful, but that quickly changed.
These rioters began walking down the main street smashing windows, destroying businesses, and looting. Then they did something they’ve been promising to do for years: They took their violent rage into the subdivisions.
A large crowd of protestors began walking down a suburban street, smashing windows, revving engines, screaming, and driving vehicles through people’s lawns.
Just imagine you're inside your home and a large crowd enters your subdivision and begins a rampage of destruction, violence, and terror.
What can you legally do according to Florida concealed carry laws? Let's ask ourselves the big questions.
The Big Questions
How Could This Situation Have Been Avoided?
In my opinion, there is no logical way to avoid a situation like this. Over the last few years, we’ve watched as the out-of-control mob has left a path of destruction across our nation
During this incident, several homeowners stood outside attempting to reason with the rioters. Thankfully, to the best of my knowledge, no one was injured, but this could have ended very badly.
Does This Scenario Fall Under the Castle Doctrine?
Florida Statutes 776.013 (4) A person who unlawfully and by force enters or attempts to enter a person's dwelling, residence or occupied vehicle is presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence.
Were some of the rioters entering or attempting to enter a residence? Yes, they were smashing windows.
Is the attacker entering or attempting to enter unlawfully? I don’t think so. The rioters were smashing the windows of several homes, but they didn’t attempt to enter the homes.
Is the attacker entering or attempting to enter by force? They were definitely using force to smash the windows, but because they never attempted to enter the homes, I would answer no.
Is the use of deadly force a reasonable response? No.
Under the Florida castle doctrine law, we have a right to use or threaten the use of deadly force if somebody is entering or attempting to enter a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle by force and unlawfully. When the rioters began smashing windows, was that a forcible entry? Maybe, but are they actually entering? The answer's no. In my opinion, I don't think a gun would be justified at all, which is easy to say and extremely hard to do.
Does This Scenario Fall Under the Justified Use of Force Statute?
Florida Statutes 776.012 (2) A person is justified in using or threatening to use deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. A person who uses or threatens to use deadly force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground if the person using or threatening to use the deadly force is not engaged in a criminal activity and is in a place where he or she has a right to be.
Do you have a reasonable belief of imminent death? No. Even though this would be a very scary situation, I don’t believe you would have a reasonable fear of death. However, this could change if the rioters made threats, brandished a weapon, or attempted to light my house on fire.
Do you have a reasonable belief of great bodily harm? Not at the moment, but as I mentioned previously, this could change very quickly.
Do you have a reasonable belief of the imminent commission of a forcible felony? No.
Is the use of deadly force necessary? No.
Are you in a place where you have a right to be? Yes.
Are you engaged in criminal activity? No.
Based on the videos that I watched of this incident, I don’t believe this situation would fall under the Justified Use of Force statute.
Where Is the Line in the Sand?
If this had happened in my neighborhood, I would have placed my children in my master bathroom because it is located in the center of my home. Tiffany and I would take positions around our home, watching the rioters, ready to take action if necessary. My line in the sand would be if someone attempted to throw a Molotov cocktail into my home or light my house on fire.
What Would You Do?
Would you go outside and confront the mob, or would you take up a barricaded position inside your home? What would you do?
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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