After the death of Trayvon Martin, many people in the Black community began to realize that Stand Your Ground laws, which had previously existed without national notoriety, were presenting a clear threat to African Americans. They gave people a license to enact their own vigilantism or “justice” on anyone who made them feel unsafe – even in an altercation that they initiated.
Then we heard about the Marissa Alexander story and how the Stand Your Ground law could be used to unfairly punish Blacks, who had the audacity to defend themselves. Alexander shot at her abusive husband and although she didn’t hit him, she was sentenced to 20 years in prison as a result of Florida’s 10-20-Life mandatory minimum sentence statute. Many people compared Alexander’s encounter to George Zimmerman‘s. While she wasn’t as squeaky clean as many people tried to paint her, the idea that she deserves 20 years in prison even though she didn’t shoot anyone, while Zimmerman spent 41 days free after murdering Martin in cold blood, is still very telling.
Just when we thought the justice system couldn’t treat Blacks much worse, in comes the case of Michael Giles.
In 2010, Giles, who at the time was an active off-duty United States military airman, was invited to go to Club Episodes on West Pensacola Street in Tallahassee, Florida by a couple friends. The party was tense and eventually ended up becoming violent as brawls broke out all over the club, causing many people, including Giles who was separated from his friends, to be removed from the venue. Once the mayhem spilled outside of the club, the people fighting amplify their ferocity to the point in which there was mention of guns and shooting.