There have been a lot of people asking that question in various forms for months now. And obviously there's no way to duplicate the same scenario as every situation has hundreds of variances. However this is a similar situation that someone e-mailed me. The case of Roderick Scott from 2009 in Rochester NY.
Scott told police he confronted 3 teens who were breaking into his neighbors car. He told them police had been called. Then high school junior Christopher Cevini lunged at Scott who shot him twice, killing the boy.
Initially the police said they wouldn't charge Scott with a crime as he was defending himself from an attack. But according to 15-year-old James Cervini, one of the three, and Christopher’s cousin, Scott shot Christopher after the teen yelled, “Please don’t shoot me, I’m just a kid.” That was enough to get the family and some in the community to call for the prosecution of Scott. The DA caved to the pressure. The jury found him not guilty which some said declared open season on shooting white kids. Assistant DA Julie Finnochio told the media gathered outside the courthouse; "I just hope it's not a message to the community that you have the right to shoot a 17-year-old unarmed kid for trying to break into a car." Christopher's father Jim told the press following the trial "The message is that we can all go out and get guns and kill anybody that we feel is threatening us and lie about the fact. My son never threatened anybody. He was a gentle child, his nature was gentle, he was a good person and he was never, ever arrested for anything, and has never been in trouble. He was 17 years and four months old, and he was slaughtered."
When a young person dies suddenly emotions run high. Parents aren't supposed to have to bury their kids. So it's to be expected family members and friends would want to blame the shooter. From their perspective Scott was built like a linebacker and Cevini was an unarmed scrawny kid who posed no threat to Scott. Scott didn't need to shoot him. Cevini's cousin says Cevini was running away from Scott not towards him. If they had proved that then Scott would be guilty of murder. Here is NY penal code 35 describing when you can use deadly force. The gist says Scott would have been guilty of murder for even standing his ground and firing on someone who was attacking him, if he he could of reasonably run away.
The jury didn't believe that Scott could have run away from the unarmed boy, much less that the boy was running away from Scott. Scott was found not guilty after he shot an unarmed boy to death because the jury believed, that Scott believed, he was in jeopardy and couldn't escape. The fact that boy was breaking into the car had no bearing on the trial, so in it's comparison to the Trayvon death, the fact that Cervini was confronted in the middle of a crime and Trayvon was confronted while walking home with skittles and chatting on the phone is irrelevant to the comparison. Both shooters alleged that they were attacked. Zimmerman has physical proof of such while Scott says the boy never laid a hand on him. The only thing that mattered was both felt their lives were in jeopardy.
All of this to say that people need to keep their emotions in check. Stevie Wonder trying to get groups of entertainers to not play in Florida only makes matters worse. The stand your ground law is in 20 other states, but not in NY. It also wasn't a part of the Zimmerman case, though most people seem to believe it was. It has nothing to do with why people are upset. They are upset because an unarmed boy was shot to death by a man simply because the man felt threatened by the boy. People have the right to kill anyone who they feel is about to kill them. Not someone who is planning to kill them, or threatening to kill them, but appears on the verge of being seconds away from killing them. If you want to protest that law, feel free to do so. But please understand what you're protesting.
As for the aftermath, NY didn't see an uptic in people shooting white teens after the Scott verdict 4 years ago. FL hasn't experienced a sudden burst of black teen deaths either. Thankfully these are 2 isolated incidents. I'm praying for all involved that they can move past these horrible nights and let the pain, fear, anger, confusion, disapointment, bitterness and sadness behind them. Those communities need healing not protests.