This weekend, protesters demanded police file charges against the man who fatally shot 19-year-old Renisha McBride on the porch of his home 10 days ago. In the event of a possible arrest, the homeowner’s lawyer appears already to be mounting a defense that calls her client completely “justified” in his actions.
“I’m confident when the evidence comes, it will show that my client was justified and acted as a reasonable person would who was in fear for his life,” Cheryl Carpenter, an attorney who identified the shooter as her client, told Detroit News.
According to police, the shooter assumed that McBride was breaking into the home. Her family has argued the teenager was seeking help for a car crash in the middle of the night when her cell phone didn’t work. Instead of receiving help, she was shot in the face by a 54-year-old man who has not yet been publicly identified.
Despite the homeowner’s initial claim that it was an accidental shooting, Carpenter’s comment indicates her client might raise a Stand Your Ground-type defense if he faces charges. While Michigan’s Stand Your Ground law authorizes deadly force anywhere one has a right to be, another law known as the “Castle Doctrine” was expanded to allow deadly force in self-defense not just inside one’s “dwelling,” but also in areas around the home such as a porch or a yard. When a person uses deadly force in the area considered the “dwelling” to prevent what is perceived as a break-in, Michigan law presumes that the deadly force was “reasonable.”
McBride’s death has quickly attracted protests for its parallels to shootings of unarmed black men and women around the country, including Trayvon Martin and Jonathan Ferrell. Dearborn, the neighborhood were McBride was shot, is also 86 percent white. Yet another parallel is that Michigan’s Stand Your Ground law — the expanded version of the Castle Doctrine — is a near-identical copy of the law used in George Zimmerman’s trial.
State representatives have called for a critical review of these laws, and the role they play in vigilante shootings. Instead, a Florida panel rejected Stand Your Ground’s repeal, at the same time McBride’s story gained national attention.
(HT: Huffington Post)