Hearing Postponed For Cop Claiming Stand Your Ground In Theater Shooting

UPDATED  June 29, 2016: Stand Your Ground Hearing For Cop In Theater Shooting Postponed – Again

A “stand your ground” hearing has been postponed for a retired Florida cop who killed a man in what’s called the “popcorn shooting” during an argument over the man texting on a cell phone in a movie theater.

SEE: A Theater Shooting You May Have Forgotten About

(UPDATE: A hearing which was originally set by Circuit Court Judge Susan L. Barthle for January 25 and postponed to May 26, 2016, then to June 29, 2016 has been postponed again. Arguments regarding the issue of public access to depositions took place on May 19, and several depositions took place on June 8.)

RELATED: Attorneys In Stand Your Ground “Popcorn Shooting” Want To Stop Access To Court Records (Updated)

RELATED:Defense Motion Granted In Theater Popcorn Shooting 

Retired Tampa Police Department Captain Curtis Judson Reeves, 73, of Brooksville, is charged with second-degree battery and second degree murder in the shooting death of 43-year-old Chad Oulson and wounding of Oulson’s wife, Nicole. Reeves shot and killed Oulson inside a movie theater in Pasco County on January 13, 2014 during an argument that started because Oulson was using a cell phone to text his child’s babysitter.

Curtis Reeves
Curtis Reeves

Reeves is claiming self defense under Florida’s stand your ground law, saying he fired on Oulson after the younger man threw an “unknown object” at him, which turned out to be a box of popcorn, and presumably the cell phone.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that both defense and prosecutors agreed to postpone the hearing, originally scheduled for January 25.


Stand Your Ground: The Self-defense That Isn’t

It’s true that under “Stand your Ground” it doesn’t matter whether the threat is real or not, only whether the person in their own mind feels threatened. The law does away with all reason, and provides a license to kill on a perceived threat that may or may not be real.


mourning-jordan-davisA classmate of Jordan Davis, age 17, weeps outside the memorial service

Imagine for a moment that someone cuts Joseph off in traffic, or does something that endangers him. Joe follows them into a 7-11 store and confronts them. The person who cut Joe off isn’t interested in hearing the criticism and becomes belligerent. He moves towards Joe in a threatening way, and tells him to get the hell out of the store, or he’ll F- him up.  Under normal self defense laws, Joe can either retreat (i.e. leave the store), or if physical harm is imminent (for example if the other person pulled out a switchblade), Joe can legally defend himself.

But under the “Stand your Ground” law in Florida, and 20+ other Red states, if Joe feels threatened, he can pull out a concealed weapon and shoot the other person dead.  Under “Stand your Ground” it doesn’t matter whether the threat is real or…

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Oklahoma Teenager Shot By Homeowner After Doorbell Prank

A 14-year-old Oklahoma honor roll student is recovering after he was shot by a homeowner while playing a dangerous teenage game of ringing door bells as a prank in the early morning hours of New Year’s day. The homeowner was not arrested, but could face charges later.

According to KOTV, the teenager, identified as Cole Peyton of Pryor, Oklahoma, was with friends as the boys were playing the doorbell prank game, which the local police chief, Steve Lemmings, called “ding-dong ditching”. The doorbell prank is a very dangerous game in which teenagers ring a doorbell or knock, then run or hide before someone answers.

The unidentified homeowner reportedly went out to his yard and fired several shots at the boys, striking Peyton in the back and arm, with one bullet puncturing his liver. Peyton, who is on the honor roll, football, and wrestling teams at Pryor High School, is recovering in a local hospital.

Cole Peyton
Cole Peyton

Police received a call reporting a home invasion, which would justify a shooting by a homeowner, under Oklahoma’s self-defense laws.  The law states that a person who uses defensive force must know or have “reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred”.

However, police report the teens were not trying to break into the shooter’s house. This leaves open the possibility that the homeowner could be arrested. Since he has not yet been charged with a crime, police did not release his name, but said the Mayes County district attorney’s office would review the case.

Though this may not be a “stand your ground” incident, Oklahoma is a stand your ground state. The law says, “A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony”.

In a very similar incident in January, 2013, another 14-year-old suffered gunshots to the leg and foot when he was shot after ringing the doorbell of a house in Pennsylvania. The shooter in that case was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person.