Is “Stand Your Ground” Only For Non-Black People?

“Stand Your Ground” has changed the legal landscape in Florida

Hard numbers tell the story. Before 2005, a shooting was generally considered self defense if an assailant had tried to enter your home and you could prove that you used deadly force as the last resort. In 2005, the “Stand your Ground” law was passed by the state legislature, which removed the need to retreat before using force.

The result?  Florida averaged 12 “justifiable homicide” deaths a year from 2000-2004. After “Stand your Ground” was passed in 2005, the number of “justifiable” deaths almost tripled to an average of 35 a year, an increase of 283% from 2005-2010.

“Stand Your Ground” is the  justification George Zimmerman’s defense team  used when the self-appointed crime watch volunteer shot and killed Miami  teen Trayvon Martin, who was returning to his father’s fiance’s house from a visit to the convenience store.

gilesIt doesn’t seem to apply to everyone

Is there a racial bias in the way the “Stand Your Ground” is manifested in day-to-day court proceedings?  A recent study by the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center shows that whites who defend themselves with “Stand Your Ground” are more likely to have the actions considered “justified” than blacks.

The case of U.S. airman and father Michael Giles supports this idea. This case began when Giles, who had just completed  a second tour in Iraq, visited a nightclub with friends. While he was there, a fight suddenly broke out, and then spread to include 30-40 people. Giles was not involved in the fight, but clearly the situation was dangerous, so he retrieved his pistol from his car and went to collect his friends.

As Giles skirted the crowd, Courtney Thrower, who later testified in court that he was angry and decided to attack the next person he saw, plunged towards Giles and struck him, knocking him to the ground. As Thrower closed in for another blow, Giles drew his pistol and fired, striking him in the leg. Fragments of the bullet broke off and struck two other people as well. No one was killed.

The perfect “Stand Your Ground” case

This was clearly the kind of incident that the “Stand Your Ground” law had been passed for. A man doing nothing to provoke an attack, a man with no history of violence and no arrest record, was assaulted, and he responded by simply wounding his attacker. This should have been an open-and-shut case. But there was just one problem. The shooter was an African-American male, and the rules for them are different.

How different? Consider this: George Zimmerman pursued a teenager, sought out a fight, and then used that fight as an excuse to murder that teenager in cold blood. He used the “Stand Your Ground” defense and walked free. Michael Giles pursued no one, initiated nothing, and when attacked, merely wounded the attacker. He attempted the “Stand Your Ground” Defense and was sentenced by the state of Florida to a mandatory 25 years in prison.

Your voice can make a difference

If you believe that this is a tragic miscarriage of justice, please sign the petition asking for Michael’s sentence to be commuted.

You can also contact the office of Florida Governor Rick Scott, who has the power to commute this sentence.  The official phone number is (850) 488-7146.

Governor Scott’s mailing address is:

Office of Governor Rick Scott
State of Florida
The Capitol
400 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001


Sources: The Grio MSNBC Amsterdam News


  1. Please read the entire picture and the back ground of MR Giles
    your answer on his character is right there

  2. Common Sense Conservative says:

    It seems that in the Travon Martin case everyone wants to make assumptions when only 2 people truly know what happened. If the roles were reversed the same people wanting Zimmerman convicted would be shouting from the rooftops that Travon was vindicated. But the Giles case seems to be pretty clear cut. His life was not in danger until he left, retrieved his firearm and returned with seemingly not so honorable intentions. Next, if you are using a firearm in defense of your life you would NEVER fire a shot to disable someone period, at the point where you feel the need to use a firearm your life is in grave danger and it’s either you or the person attacking you, you shoot to kill, if you don’t then the person could then fight through the pain and kill you, defeating the purpose of Stand Your Ground.

  3. Even Steven says:

    Of course the liberals whine anytime a Negro takes the skunk train. Whyonchu just take a drop of your own medicine and go down to the crazy black part of town and see how friendly all dem niggas are with you when dey see it’s whitey rolling up in his fancy Toyota Tercel. U make me sick.

    • Kara Libby says:

      There is something wrong with you. Seek help.

    • Anonymous says:

      Steven, you are as nuts as they come. A overly paranoid, out of control, racist. And if you think a Toyota Tercel, is a fancy car. I just laugh, you nutty piece of scum.

  4. Hactor Homes says:

    the guy was a soldier a decent marksman would know to avoid hitting a
    vital he in all likely hood had aimed for the leg intending to preform a
    disabling shot as opposed to a lethal one while someone who was
    untrained (like most American gun owners they don’t even have to do a
    basic firearm safety test to get buy the gun) would just be shooting in the general direction of the assailant it is possible to be fearful for your life and not intend to kill reasonable force differs not just on the situation but also on the person defending them selves he had training, he knew where to shoot in order to stop the attacker anything more than that would have been excessive force

    • Anonymous says:

      You can not determine guilt by what you read on Facebook. There could be a lot of information left out. Unless you were at the trial every day and had access to all the evidence you can’t judge. What was the jury make up how many were black, how many were white? Was this a black night club? Was the person he shot black too? Other people were hit by bullet fragments, were they black? Did they testify in the trial, if so what did they tell the court? Could what they have said lead the jury to convict this man? There is too many unknowns to jump to this man’s guilt or incidences.

  5. Max Planck says:

    Without accounting for the press’ sensationalist bias, it’s starting to look like the law isn’t so much racist as it is an incentive to make sure your target (would you prefer, “alleged assailant?”) is DEAD rather than disabled. Shoot to wound, or MISS your target, you get 2nd degree attempted murder. Shoot to kill and HIT your target, you get acquittal. Perhaps they’re trying to incentivize marksmanship.

    • Inferno says:

      This has been the case in general for a long time. The (faulty) logic behind this is that: if you are using a firearm, you presumably are afraid for your life, so any measure short of killing your assailant is deemed as proof that you weren’t really afraid for your life. Its incredibly stupid, and its been used as a tool by the anti-gun lobby to force the idea that anyone with a firearm is a psychopath bent on murder. I have had police tell me that dead men tell no tales- shooting to wound rather than kill is just setting yourself up for an enormous lawsuit. I think that is one of the main reasons Zimmerman walked, and I think that, plus the fact that this guy left the scene of danger and came back with a gun, and hit two bystanders in the process are why there is a different result ( and I won’t discount the possibility that its also because he’s black).

  6. Virginia says:

    My heart breaks for this young man and his family.

    • Even Steven says:

      Would it break for mine if our positions were reversed? It’s easy to be a pious sob sister when you got nothing on the line.

  7. Get you facts straight doofus. First off, Zimmerman tried to use the Stand Your Ground as his defense, but it was disallowed.

    Secondly, you do not state that the Airman felt he was in danger of his life. Yes, he was assaulted, but that does not automatically trigger the Stand Your Ground law.

    Lastly, and the big problem, was that he left to go get his weapon. THAT is the big problem. Had he stayed outside, or extricated his friends first, that would have cleared him. But he went outside, retrieved a weapon, and went back into the problem area. THAT is what got him convicted. If you are clear of the danger area you can not go back into it and then claim self-defense. That’s the way the law works.

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