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State Attorney Says Stand Your Ground Clears Counter-Protester Who Raised Gun At Protesters

old florida capitol building white with striped awnings
Ryan Dailey
Florida's Historic Capitol building

State Attorney Jack Campbell says he can’t charge the man who pointed a gun at protestors in front of The Capitol because of Florida’s stand your ground law.

Florida’s stand your ground law allows people being attacked to use deadly force to protect themselves instead of retreating. Campbell says that applies in the case of the man who pointed a gun at protesters near Tallahassee’s Capitol last month.

"The video evidence unequivocally shows that he would be hit and kicked at the time, and as such the law allows it," said Campbell.

Delilah Pierre a member of Tallahassee Community Action Committee, a group involved in organizing many of the recent protests, believes protesters are being treated unfairly. Sixteen people who marched toward the Florida Capitol last weekend were arrested and charged after protesters spilled into the street and police say they were impeding traffic.

"When people have asked him if he’ll drop the charges on the now Tallahassee sixteen he’s like, ‘I have to follow the law that’s my job," said Pierre. "Then on the other hand it’s very easy for him to find these very convenient excuses for white supremacists who like point guns at protestors."

Campbell says prosecutors and law enforcement have regularly warned lawmakers about the issues the Stand Your Ground statute could present. He says he would support a change to the law, but right now, he has to follow it as it’s written.