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A man who pulled a gun on supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement during an unauthorized demonstration in the Florida capital Saturday has had charges against him dropped after video of the incident showed he was justified in standing his ground.
The man was counter-protesting a BLM rally in Tallahassee on Saturday when he was forced to pull a handgun after being struck and knocked to the ground.
Initially, police quickly swarmed the man after a video showed him brandishing the weapon and forcing another man to drop to his knees with his hands raised in surrender.
But the suspect was released after police reviewed additional footage from other videos showing that he was stalked and then set upon by a group of BLM supporters, only pulling his gun after he was punched and jumped on by at least a half-dozen people.
Video reveals what really caused man to pull gun at Florida BLM rally https://t.co/an6b9QwH7Z #Blm and #Antifa punks beware. Florida, the #Gunshine state, is also a #StandYourGroundState , and everyone with a carry permit is packing nowadays.
— Jack Furnari (@JackBPR) August 30, 2020
“A local group hosted a non-permitted protest on downtown streets. With no advance notice to or coordination with [Tallahassee Police] to ensure safety, the group gathered and blocked the intersection of Monroe Street and Apalachee Parkway with people and cars,” the Tallahassee Police Department said in a report published online.
“Despite not being notified, TPD officers, who were in the area, moved in to stop traffic at the intersection to provide safety for the protest,” the report continued.
The report went on to note that a “white male” began to document the crowd and was eventually “pushed from behind a white protester, which led to a physical altercation between the individual and several other white males.”
During the scuffle, the man was knocked to the ground but “got back to his feet and brandished a gun” before being “quickly engaged” by officers.
“Video from several sources were available to review the incident,” the report said. “TPD investigators worked with the State Attorney’s Office to review the evidence of the physical altercation.
“The evidence confirmed the physical altercation between numerous protestors and that the individual was knocked to the ground and under attack before lawfully defending himself,” the report adds, noting that the department further “confirmed that the individual with the gun was lawfully carrying a concealed weapon as a license holder.
“Based on the totality of evidence, no assault charges have been applied to any of the individuals involved in the fight or the individual with the gun,” the report notes.
Florida is a “Stand Your Ground” state, meaning residents can defend themselves with deadly force if they believe they are in danger of being killed.
Other states have similar laws but depending on who is charged with enforcing them, the results of ‘standing your ground’ can vary.
For example, a St. Louis couple, Mark and Patricia McCloskey, were charged with felony unlawful use of a weapon in July after defending their home June 28 from a mob of BLM supporters who had just broken into their locked gated community.
“It is illegal to wave weapons in a threatening matter at those participating in nonviolent protest, and while we are fortunate this situation did not escalate into deadly force, this type of conduct is unacceptable in St. Louis,” city Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, who is black and whose campaign was funded in part by Left-wing billionaire George Soros, said in a statement.
“We must protect the right to peacefully protest, and any attempt to chill it through intimidation will not be tolerated,” she added.
Missouri Gov. Mike Parsons (R) blasted Gardner for filing the charges which he felt were in violation of the state’s stand-your-ground law (also known as the “Castle Doctrine”) that he, as a state legislator, helped craft a few years earlier.
Parsons, who is favored to win reelection in November, has suggested he will pardon the McCloskeys if they are convicted.
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