Archive for stand your ground

Oh Captain, My Captain


Robin Williams

The world lost a real treasure yesterday. Robin Williams gave us the gift of countless verses, of howls of hilarity, gleeful giggles and even snort-inducing snickers. For the laughs, I'll be forever grateful.

But he also had the ability to get truly serious, and to bring us to tears. His performances in Dead Poets Society, Good Will Hunting, Good Morning Vietnam, Mrs. Doubtfire and even the under-appreciated Jumanji are among my favorites. But there were so many more thought-provoking, risk-taking roles (What Dreams May Come comes to mind) that made up the wealth of work he'll leave behind and insure that, to those of us who never had the privilege of meeting him, he'll live on forever.

I've battled depression since adolescence. I talk about it occasionally on the show because we need to remove the stigma associated with it. I know that Robin Williams battled those demons and, with them, drug addiction - a deadly combination. I only hope that he can now rest in peace.

Today, during our "Gliberal Goddesses" segment, GottaLaff, Amy Simon and I talked about the genius that was Robin Williams. I, as a fan; Amy, as an improv artist who met him once; and Laffy as someone who worked with him in an improv group in LA before he shot to stardom as our favorite Alien, Mork from the planet Ork.

In the first hour, after sharing my thoughts about our collective loss, I spoke about the madness unfolding in Ferguson, MO, where a town is grieving its own tragic loss of an 18 year old at the hands of one who should have been protecting him.

Instead, in what's looking more and more like murder and a cover-up, a police officer shot and killed an unarmed Michael Brown. Of the two stories that have emerged about the shooting, the one told by Dorin Johnson, who was walking with Brown at the time, is the more credible.

“Me and my friend was walking down the street in the middle of the street. And we wasn’t causing any harm to nobody. We had no weapons on us at all. … A police officer squad car pulled up and when he pulled up these were his exact words: ‘Get the F on the sidewalk.’ … He reversed his … car in a manner to where it almost hit us. … He tried to brush his door open but he was so close to us that it ricocheted off us and it bounced back to him, and I guess that, you know, got him a little upset. And at that time ... he didn’t get out the car, he just reached his arm out the window and grabbed my friend around his neck and … as he was trying to choke my friend, he was trying to get away, and the officer then reached out and he grabbed his arm to pull him into the car. … His weapon was drawn and he said, ‘I’ll shoot you’ or ‘I’m going to shoot,’ and in the same moment the first shot went off. And we looked at him, he was shot, and there was blood coming from him, and we took off running, and as we took off running, I ducked and hid for my life because I was afraid for my life … . My friend kept running and he told me to keep running because he feared for me, too. So, as he was running, the officer was trying to get out of the car and once he got out the car he pursued my friend, but his weapon was drawn. Now, he didn’t see any weapon drawn at him or anything like that. I was going for no weapon. His weapon was already drawn when he got out the car. He shot again and once my friend felt that shot, he turned around and put his hands in the air and he started to get down but the officer still approached with his weapon drawn and he fired several more shots, and my friend died. He didn’t say anything to him, he just stood over and was shooting.”

Dorian Johnson spoke with Chris Hayes last night on MSNBC's All In:

The police- via St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar- are pushing a different story.

“Yesterday about noon in the 2900 block of Canfield, a Ferguson police officer had an encounter with two individuals on the street. In fact, one of those individuals … allegedly pushed the police officer back into the car where he physically assaulted the police officer. It is our understanding at this point in the investigation that within the police car there was a struggle over the officer’s weapon. There was at least one shot fired within the car. After that the officer went back, came back out of the car, he exited his vehicle, and there was a shooting that occurred where the officer in fact shot the subject, and … they were fatal injuries. The entire scene from approximately the car door to the shooting is about 35 feet. There were shell casings recovered, the shell casings are all matched to one weapon, that’s the officer’s weapon. There were more than a few shell casings recovered. I cannot say at this time how many times the subject was struck by gunfire. It’s hard to know, it was more than just a couple but I don’t think it was many more than that.”

Protests and clashes between police and protesters continue, as police have still not released the identity of the officer who shot Michael Brown. This is far from over.

This morning, I spoke with George Sheldon, candidate for Attorney General of Florida.  I asked him about the situation in Ferguson and the seeming rise in police militarization and violence, as well as Florida's Stand Your Ground law. The primary is two weeks from today.

We'll be back tomorrow with Susie Madrak of Crooks and Liars, and whatever else the day brings. Stay safe and hug your loved ones, and I'll talk to you tomorrow, radio or not...


Man Shoots A Cop And Claims "Stand Your Ground" Defense



It was only a matter of time before a person shot a cop and used "Stand Your Ground" as a defense. And where else would this happen? Of course, Florida. You go Gators!

Okay, here's the story. Back in mid-March, a robbery victim told police that someone from a home located around the 8800 block of Burning Tree Road in a Pensacola Florida neighborhood had robbed him. The thief got away with marijuana and a handgun from the residence. 

Keep in mind that currently, as also back in March, marijuana is NOT LEGAL in Florida. Who knows about the handgun? But lets move on with this true tale. From Raw Story:

Police converged on the home and saw Finkelstein — who was not the subject the police were searching for — emerge from the house’s garage. Sgt. Johnson said that he emerged from a hiding place behind a tree and identified himself as a sheriff’s deputy.

Finkelstein produced a gun and fired, striking Johnson in the leg.

Finkelstein’s attorney Brandon Moros is arguing along with his client that Johnson emerged from the shadows without identifying himself and that Finkelstein fired in self-defense. Moros contends that Finkelstein’s actions were justified under “Stand Your Ground.”

C'mon, you gotta admit you saw this coming after all of the other high profile cases of "Stand Your Ground" defense in the Sunshine State.


Black is the New Crime


Driving While BlackiStock

Please welcome our new guest contributor Dee. Dee is a freelance writer and passionate political junkie, living in the Central Plains with her husband and three furry puppies. She is a prolific tweeter as @DAbitty, and occasional blogger at MyLittleBits

Growing up in the South, as I did, I remember hearing stories of how unsafe parts of America were for African Americans. Following years of struggle, which at times seemed futile, and the fear that racism might never end always there, we find ourselves in ever-present danger of regression. How much have we really accomplished?

Lauren Williams of Mother Jones Magazine has listed 21 things ‘done while black’ that proved detrimental. I fear these 21 are merely drops in the bucket that is racism in the America.

Williams argues that just the color of one's skin is enough evidence to raise suspicion. Unfortunately, there is ample evidence to support her theory.

Here are 21 examples from the last five years of some of the things black people can't do without others thinking they're up to no good.

1. Listen to loud music at a gas station.

2. Walk home from a snack run to 7-11.

3. Wear a hoodie.

4. Drive after swimming.

5. Drive in a car with a white girl.

6. Appear in public in New York City.

7. Walk on the wrong side of the street.

8. Wait for a school bus to take you to your high school basketball game.

9. Drink iced tea in a parking lot.

10. Seek help after a car accident.

11. Inspect your own property.

12. Show up at your job.

13. Talk trash after an NFL game.

14. Throw a temper tantrum in kindergarten.

15. Buy designer accessories at Barney’s.

16. Buy designer accessories at Macy’s.

17. Be a 13-year-old boy.

18. Enter your own home.

19. Botch a science experiment.

20. Be a tourist.

21. Lay face down in handcuffs.

I often use the snarky hashtag #winning for things I find inexplicable…  I just can’t.

Click to read more of Lauren’s article.


Movie Theater Popcorn Killing Cop Video Released



By now you've heard of the case of Curtis Reeves, the accused ex-Florida cop who shot and killed a man, Chad Oulson, in a movie theater because the Oulson was texting his 2 year old daughter's baby sitter to check on her before the movie started.

I know many people are anxious to see the coming attractions, but getting into an altercation over someone silently sending a message is a bit of text rage if you ask me. But this retired cop had his reasons for shooting the unarmed texter. The dude who was doing the message sending attacked the ex chief of police -- with popcorn. Not even the box, just the contents. Perhaps it was the buttery flavored topping that caused the outrage. Hey, if the Twinkie Defense worked in the Harvey Milk murder case, why not give buttered popcorn it's chance?

But in any case, there's a dead man and a defendant now in custody. The accused shooter is looking for bail and during his hearing Friday, the DA's office provided the video of the assault.

So now you can make up your own mind by watching it. One thing's for sure, it didn't take long for the ex-cop to fast-draw his gun and shoot. Was he actually just waiting for an excuse to pop the texting man? Well, in any case, once again the familiar Florida defense is being used -- Stand your ground. And in this case, it didn't seem to sway Circuit Judge Lynn Tepper . Bail was denied.