Tallahassee, Florida – Governor Rick Scott told reporters Wednesday that Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law has been largely misconstrued. The law has come under new scrutiny after an Orlando man, Claudius Smith, chased a man he claims was a would-be burglar to a neighboring apartment complex and shot him. The young man, Ricardo Sanes, died, and Smith has been charged with second-degree murder.
Many law enforcement officials say that the “Stand Your Ground” law wouldn’t apply in the case, but Scott opened up the possibility that Smith, and other defendants like him, would able to invoke “Stand Your Ground,” if the law was understood the way it was intended.
“When we said, ‘Stand Your Ground,’ what we meant was, ‘Chase a dark-skinned man and then shoot that person,'” Scott said. “I thought that was clear when I signed the law, but apparently it’s been misinterpreted to mean staying in place, and defending yourself if you feel threatened. That’s completely mistaken, as far as I’m concerned.”
Scott says, going by the amended definition, the Orlando case would, in fact, be one where the law would apply.
“I think it’s perfectly reasonable,” Scott said. “Someone walks around in your backyard, and then they run away, you have every right to chase that person down, hunt them like an animal and take the law into your own hands, even if it means ending their life. And that’s what ‘Stand Your Ground’ is all about.”