A stabbing at Miami Beach's Nikki Beach nightclub was caught on tape. Click here to watch the footage.
What do you think? Self-defense or unlawful use of force?
The facts of the incident go as follows: a group of young people were out enjoying a night at the club when a man, the 24-year old accused stabber, approached the group and allegedly touched a female in an inappropriate manner. This led to an argument between the alleged victim and the accused.
In the video you can see the accused appearing to taunt the alleged victim. This taunting causes the alleged victim to charge at the accused. The accused turns around so that the alleged victim is grabbing the accused from behind. The accused then stabs the alleged victim three times in the torso.
The accused has been arrested and charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
This is either a violent crime or a case of self-defense. Does Stand Your Ground protection exist here? Let's see.
Florida's Stand Your Ground law is one of the most comprehensive self-defense laws in the country. It recognizes that people have a right to defend themselves with force when their well-being, or the well-being of another, is put in danger. Stand Your Ground also permits the use of deadly force, but only under certain circumstances.
Stand Your Ground says that as long as you are in a place where you have a right to be, you may meet force with force, including deadly force, if you reasonably believe it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another.
When you break down the video footage, you can see that the accused does not instigate the physical altercation, although it appears that he is verbally taunting the alleged victim. It is the alleged victim who charges at the accused, wrapping him in his arms in what appears to be an effort to take the accused to the ground. The accused appears to already have a knife in his hand when he reaches around and stabs the alleged victim three times.
Can you make a case for self-defense under Stand Your Ground? That depends. First of all, was it reasonable for the accused to believe that he needed to stab the alleged victim in order to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself?
In that situation, the accused would have been justified in using non-lethal force to protect himself. There is no doubt that the video shows the alleged victim as the first physical aggressor. However, it is questionable whether the accused was justified in using anything more than non-lethal force in order to defend himself.
The accused is being held in a Miami-Dade jail on a $25,000 bond.