Sherdavia Jenkins, a 9-year-old girl playing outside her Miami home with her siblings didn’t deserve to die. Especially not the way she did – caught in the crossfire of gang warfare and felled by a bullet from an AK-47. Even more hurtful was the fact that the shooter had the audacity to invoke Florida’s stand your ground law.
Her death in 2006 horrified the community and solidified her name as a rallying cry against the gun violence that has plagued Miami for decades.
It would later be denied, but the insult of using stand your ground law as an excuse for accidentally taking the life of an innocent 9-year-old was an affront to the futility of having such a law – a law that wastes precious court time, and allows a defendant the luxury of a possible excuse.
In observance of July 1st, 2016 – the 10th anniversary of Sherdavia’s death – the Miami-Herald reports on reflections of her family, community, and the remorse of one of the gunmen, as her family is carrying on, preparing to send Sherdavia’s sister to college and wondering what their bright, beloved daughter might have accomplished had she lived. Read the full story at MiamiHerald.com
Statement issued by the family of 17-year-old Darrell Niles regarding the court decision on stand your ground immunity hearing for Shannon Scott (courtesy WISTV.com):
“As a family, we have waited patiently, quietly and painfully for the last three years. We even remained silent, painful, yet hopeful during the Zimmerman case. We did not come this far not to receive justice for Darrell. We know that there is nothing we can do to bring Darrell back, but we will now speak on behalf of all innocent bystanders.
We were present in court every day and heard every statement. We are appalled by the judges decision. The 4 teenagers that testified on Shannon Scott’s behalf, gave 4 different stories. After each of their testimonies, it was revealed that each of them changed their stories from three years ago (statements were read aloud in court).
Please, please, please understand that there are so many details being left out. Kudos to Todd Rutherford for being a good lawyer. However, Shannon Scott’s roommate and his girlfriend testified that Shannon came into his room, grabbed his gun without telling them to get down or about any threat and immediately walked outside shooting. They testified that the first shot was close to the house and happened immediately after Shannon went out of his front door. They said the second shot was far off. This matches the statement (read in court) given by the shooter in the car of so called “women thugs”. She said she wanted the person that was shooting at her to know that she also had a gun, so she shot back.
As Rutherford mentioned on WIS news, the young lady did give a statement to police stating that she was going to shoot Shannon’s house up, but Rutherford failed to mention that her sentence ended in “after someone shot at me, but my friends talked me out of it.” She felt the need to defend herself.
Prior to this case, Shannon had no knowledge that the girls planned to shoot at his home. He found out in court and Mr. Rutherford capitalized on it in his closing statement to paint a picture that did not happen. Even the 911 call made by Shannon’s wife, at the time girlfriend, which was played in court said, “there is a white SUV full of girls parked at Allstate”. She stated that Shannon heard her say this. So, how did he end up shooting a red Honda that contained two boys?
The young man riding with Darrell also testified that Shannon shot first. He saw him walk out and start shooting. He also testified of a second shot that was far off. The 911 call gave details on where the girls were (parked at Allstate…a few houses down and two the right of Shannon’s home) and pictures revealed where my Darrell’s car ended (pictures shown in court….like two houses down and to the left of Shannon’s home). That doesn’t make for an off shot. That makes for bad judgement.
Shannon also testified that he saw the vehicle that posed a threat come down the street with it’s headlights off. Pictures shown revealed that Darrell’s headlights were on. Nonetheless, this man was shooting at kids.
Yes, teenagers can pose a threat and we understand wanting to protect your child, but by any means necessary and without judgement?!? There was a sign at his home that said, “Shoot first. Ask questions later.” He did exactly that. Regardless of what his lawyer wants people to believe, Shannon shot first. He created the biggest threat and took an innocent bystanders life. He shot at a car that had the windows up (pictures shown in court). That is not standing your ground.
We understand that the stand your ground law has caused an uproar in our nation at this time, but we do not feel as if it is applicable to this case. We hope and pray that the Supreme Court would allow this case to go to trial. We are confident in the facts. Not the painted picture of Rutherford, who helped write the stand your ground law. Thanks to everyone in support of justice in this case. We thank you. We solicit your prayers. One thing is for sure, facts do not lie!!“
A new video uploaded on YouTube today highlights a few more unarmed Florida citizens killed by someone who invoked stand-your-ground law.
The clip profiles Gary Hembree, Jordan Davis, David James, and Sherdavia Jenkins – all killed doing normal things we may take for granted. Like having fun at a Labor Day barbecue, or waiting at a gas station inside a friend’s vehicle, or showing a child how to play basketball – or, just being a child, playing outside.
Check out this 30-second clip on YouTube, and then, please share it!
Today I released a short PSA video called “Who Will Be Next?” featuring profiles of eleven unarmed victims (including Trayvon Martin) killed, not only with guns – but with scissors, and knives as well – in Florida, each by someone who at some point invoked the state’s Stand Your Ground laws.
These are only a few. There are dozens more. Some are thugs, but there are many good people who can and do become victimized by someone claiming they were only “standing their ground”.
A few sleepless nights ago, the images of some of these people kept haunting me, urging me to show their faces, and give voices to the impact of their lost lives.
The music in the video was not what was originally planned (I tested using the theme from “Escape from New York”) but YouTube won’t let me due to copyright laws, yet the resulting alternative is not bad. I hope you can get a feel for the movement, learn a little about victims, and thank you for sharing the video with everyone you know!
“The following is an illustration of the potentially serious problems posed by changes [stand your ground] in no-retreat laws. Imagine that a nine-year-old girl is playing with her dolls outside her home.
In the house next door, a known drug-dealer, Red Rock, is selling drugs when he notices a rival drug-dealer, Yellow Man, with whom he had an earlier confrontation, coming down the street. Red Rock retrieves a semiautomatic assault rifle to defend himself.
Shots are exchanged, and in the aftermath, the little girl, once playing innocently, lies dead. Both Red Rock and Yellow Man claim selfdefense through the unprecedented changes [stand your ground] in the Castle Doctrine law.
Although Red Rock was a criminal, a “prohibited person” can possess a firearm for short periods of time in matters of self-defense. So long as Red Rock did not own the firearm nor live in the residence where the firearm was located, he could invoke a legal defense under the expanded [stand your ground] Castle Doctrine.
If law enforcement cannot prove that Red Rock was engaged in an unlawful activity and that his fear of imminent bodily harm was unreasonable, he could claim self-defense.
Likewise, assuming Yellow Man could legally possess a weapon, he would be justified in using a firearm in self-defense. This eliminates any legal recourse, civil or criminal, for the violent death of an innocent nine-year-old girl.
Because the legislature provided blanket immunity[stand your ground] for “self-defense,” courts are faced with situations in which a deadly defense may be legally justified, even if negligently or recklessly executed.
On the other hand, if the Castle Doctrine had not been expanded [stand your ground], Red Rock would have been required to retreat to an area — such as his home — that was safe. If he had done so, then innocent bystanders would have been spared even if the confrontation had occurred.
Would this shooting have been avoided if the Castle Doctrine were not expanded? Perhaps not, but the family of the victim would have legal remedies, and the two perpetrators could be held responsible for their actions rather than using the Castle Doctrine as a shield from the criminal and civil justice systems.
Sadly, this scenario is not fictional. It is based on a 2006 homicide case in Miami-Dade County.”
The NDAA has given us a clear picture of why we must eliminate stand your ground laws. Using stand your ground law, the killer claimed self-defense, and was able to receive a lesser charge of manslaughter resulting in 50 years instead of a life or a death sentence.
Contrary to what some people believe, if stand your ground is repealed, gun owners will still have all the rights they have always had under the ages-old Castle Doctrine. We must end stand your ground laws now.
(The full publication can be found in .pdf at ndaa.org)