Gun Owners Train For Gun Safety And Home Defense In Connecticut
Getty Images

Florida Lawmakers Expected To Revise Stand Your Ground Bill

The new bill will reportedly make it easier for defendants to use it. 

Florida lawmakers are poised to make significant revisions to the current Stand Your Ground bill this week, The New York Times reports. Under the proposed rule, it may allow more defendants to claim self-defense without having to provide evidence to support the claim. Instead, the burden would transfer to the prosecutors, who would have to prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that the rule does not apply.

The Senate passed the revised Stand Your Ground bill Wednesday (Mar. 15) by a winning vote of 23 to 15, ultimately clearing the path for the House of Representatives to pick up the law in the forthcoming weeks, the Times confirms. If the bill were officially passed, the defendant could simply proclaim self-defense, and the prosecution would be forced to prove with various evidence and witnesses, that the violent act was not justified. Republican Senator Rob Bradley suggests the new bill will put the burden where it belongs and uphold the American standard that you are innocent until proven guilty. "If a prosecutor doesn’t have the evidence to prevail at this immunity hearing … the prosecutor does not have sufficient evidence to win at trial,” Bradley said. "Innocent people will not go free as a result of this bill; this bill isn’t about creating loopholes"

While State Senator Dennis Baxley insists the bill will save a number of people, it does not seem to act on behalf of the other side. The provision reportedly allows people to use deadly force, without the responsibility of removing themselves from the situation before it turns violent, according to the Miami Herald. For example, if the law were passed prior to the high-profile case regarding retired Tampa policeman Curtis Reeves, who cried "Stand Your Ground" after shooting and killing Chad Oulson at a movie theater because he was texting, Reeves wouldn't  have been responsible for proving or explaining his use of deadly force. The prosecution would have had to prove, without a reasonable doubt, why Oulson essentially didn't deserve to be shot.

Democratic Senator Gary Farmer, expressed some concern for the bill during a courthouse debate, saying that it puts prosecutors in a difficult position "of having to prove a negative." "That’s a very difficult proposition regardless of the issue. When you add to that, in order to prove that negative, a prosecutor needs witnesses," he continued. "This bill has unintended consequences of incentivizing shoot-to-kill. Dead men tell no tales."

Following the aftermath of Trayvon Martin's death in 2012, Florida -- aka the "Gunshine State" -- has been thrust at the head of the discussion on self-defense laws in recent years. It is now reportedly up to the House to finish the job in one final hearing, the Herald reports. If the house gives the green light, the state would become the first state to enforce tougher standards or expectations of the prosecutors.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Courtesy of NBC

The Viral Covington Catholic High School Teen Is Suing The Washington Post

Nicholas Sandmann, the 16-year-old Kentucky teen who went viral after footage showed him wearing a MAGA hat starring at a Native American man, has launched a lawsuit against The Washington Post to the tune of $250 million.

According to reports, Sandmann's lawyers filed a complaint Tuesday (Feb. 19) and argued the newspaper neglected to add context to the video, which resulted in damage to the teen's reputation, as well as him allegedly being bullied and harassed.

"[The Post] intended to harm Nicholas because he was a white, Catholic boy wearing a MAGA hat, and consciously ignored the threats of harm that it knew would inevitably ensue, in favor of its political agenda," the complaint outlines.

Nicholas and veteran Nathan Phillips crossed paths in January at the March For Life protest in Washington, D. C. While at the Lincoln Memorial, Philips was singing and playing a drum after the Indigenous Peoples March. Scenes from the video show teens in the background making tomahawk chopping gestures with their hands as Philips moves through the crowd, as Nicholas is seen smiling directly in his face.

Longer videos, however, provide more background. Black Hebrew Israelites were shouting and a confrontation ensued between Native Americans and tourists. BuzzFeed News spoke with Hunter Hooligan another attendee of the Indigenous People's March and described Nicholas' behavior as "mob mentality."

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bsy9_7WFDQO/?utm_source=ig_embed

"What made me feel scared was the mob mentality of the situation," Hooligan said. "That type of tactic of instilling fear and intimidation and overpowering and outnumbering has been a consistent weapon of white supremacy against indigenous people."

The lawsuit claims Nicholas was singled out by the paper's coverage of the incident and was motivated by their own political agenda.

"The Post must be dealt with the same way every bully is dealt with, and that is hold the bully fully accountable for its wrongdoing in a manner which effectively deters the bully from again bullying other children."

Speaking to Buzzfeed News, The Post is planning to "mount a vigorous defense."

Continue Reading
Getty Images

Stockton Launches Basic Income Program Gifting Residents With $500 A Month

Stockton, California has launched its basic income plan gifting dozens of residents with $500 a month, the Huffington Post reports.

Last year, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs responded to criticism over the program which was designed to help close the poverty gap as residents struggle to stay afloat amid California's skyrocketing rent prices and increase in homelessness.

The basic income plan -- the first of its kind to be launched by a U.S. city -- was announced by Tubbs and the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED) in 2017. Under the program, 130 residents will receive a monthly stipend via prepaid debit cards for the next 18 months.

Exciting! Congrats to the team, the city, and to the recipients. We’ve learned so much getting to this point and I am looking forward to learning more. Stockton lead the way @stocktondemo #ReinventStockton https://t.co/j2OPkA4zG8

— Michael Tubbs (@MichaelDTubbs) February 15, 2019

Stockton's median household income is just under $50,000 a year. Residents are chosen through an “algorithm” to make sure that the selection is representative of the community’s diversity.

The money is funded by a grant from the Economic Security Project, in addition to other funds raised, Tubbs said.

“There’s no restriction on how people can use the money,” he pointed out. “If people use it for drugs and alcohol that’s there prerogative. [But] if I didn’t believe in the capacity of the folks who elected me to make good decisions, I probably shouldn’t be mayor.”

Continue Reading
Andrew Burton

Boyfriend Suspected Of Killing Girlfriend And Her Son Jumps In Front Of Train

An ex-con who's suspected of brutally beating his girlfriend and her son to death committed suicide by jumping in front of Metro-North train six hours after the murders.

According to The New York Daily News, Hector Cruz, 51, is believed to have stabbed and used a workout weight to bludgeon Marisol Ortiz, 51 and her 14-year-old son Alanche del Orbe in their Bronx apartment.

Ortiz's 21-year-old daughter, Chantal del Orbe, found the bodies after returning home from a friend's house. Before bursting into tears, Chantal hung a birthday banner over a makeshift memorial created for her brother who was killed a day before his 15th birthday.

“He was sweet all the time,” she said of her brother. “It was all love in that house.”

Grieving friends, family and those in the neighborhood say they have no doubt Cruz is the killer. “Go in peace my aunt with my nephew. Wow, I feel so powerless why do things like this have to happen. My God. Mourning. What a great loss," Emiluz Ortiz wrote on Facebook.

Cruz was released from prison in 2016 after serving seven years for first-degree assault, and while speaking with the Daily News Chantal said Cruz showcased signs of possessiveness.

“He was a bit jealous. He was strange. He would look through (Ortiz’s) phone but he was never aggressive. He always said he wanted the family united,” she said. “He never really convinced me. Days before he was acting strange.”

The crime was so severe, Ortiz’s cousin Haydee Leonardo said it's affected the funeral.

“They’re going to cremate the bodies because they were told that their faces were so brutally beaten, you can’t see who they were. You can’t see their faces,” he said.

Cruz was reportedly killed by a northbound Metro-North train at the Hartsdale station Sunday morning (Feb. 17) at 9:45 AM.

Continue Reading

Top Stories