Most people are aware of the Florida Stand Your Ground law as it received a lot of notoriety during the George Zimmerman case and other cases in Florida since then. Essentially, the law says that people in Florida are not required to retreat and can use deadly force if he/she reasonably believes it is necessary to prevent the other person from committing an imminent act that is likely to cause death or serious injury to him/herself or another person. It is basically a self defense law that allows a person to use deadly force if the person legitimately thinks the other person is going to do something very bad to him/her. The law provides some procedural benefits to a defendant who can utilize the Stand Your Ground law.
One question is whether police officers can use the Stand Your Ground law like regular people can. In a recent murder case near Jacksonville, Florida, a police officer was charged with murder after shooting someone he claimed he thought had a weapon and was pointing it at him. The police officer was responding to a suspicious person call and saw the suspect walking in a neighborhood with what appeared to be a rifle. He followed the suspect and ultimately told him to drop the alleged rifle. The suspect did not drop it and pointed it at the police officer, according to the officer. The police officer then shot him and killed him.
The criminal defense lawyer filed a motion to dismiss the charges based on the Florida Stand Your Ground law. The criminal defense attorney argued the police officer reasonably believed the suspect had a weapon and was going to fire it at the officer, and he shot the officer in self defense. The state objected and argued that a police officer does not have the right to assert the Stand Your Ground law because there is a Florida statute that specifically addresses when a police officer may use force when effecting an arrest. Because there is already a statute on this issuing specifically dealing with police officers are arrests, that law applies rather than the Stand Your Ground law which applies to people generally.