An unfortunate and dangerous precedent was set this past week by the jury in the Michael Drejka case. It rendered the "stand your ground" defense moot and impotent. This was a textbook case of SYG if there ever was one.
The press makes liberal — albeit incorrect — use of the term "unarmed" in its description of what happened. Drejka's attacker was, indeed, armed. He was bigger, stronger, angry and out of control when he assaulted him and beat him to the ground. What did the jury expect Drejka to do? What options did he have? Fight the bigger, stronger aggressor? Try to get up and run away? Let the perpetrator beat him to a pulp?
The jury's decision makes it illegal to defend oneself. So, why was SYG passed by the Florida legislature if juries refuse to honor it?
It's no different than the Trevor Dooley case a few years ago in Valrico, except that the aggressor then was white and the guy who was attacked was black. The jury in that case convicted Dooley (the black guy who was attacked) but it was overturned on appeal because it, too, was a clear cut case of stand your ground. Just like the Drejka case.
What if Drejka's attacker had used brass knuckles instead of his fists? What about a baseball bat or a knife? What if Drejka had been a black woman instead of a white man? At what point and under what set of circumstances does the victim of an attack start to have rights, particularly the right to defend oneself?
It's apparent in this decision that common sense and the rule of law took a back seat to the insidious demands of a vocal and potentially violent minority. Think Sanford, Ferguson and Baltimore.