I haven’t seen enough evidence to make a judgement one way or the other. I did however see one blurry image that appears to show the guy with the AK holding the rifle pointed at an angle at the vehicle with multiple other people surrounding and touching the vehicle. The driver was clearly surrounded and could not get away without running someone over.
So if the Uber driver didn’t initiate the incident by threateningly driving into the crowd I could easily see him justifiably fearing for his life if the crowd was acting in a threatening manner. If he waits for the guy to point the AK directly at him he wouldn’t be able to stop the threat before AK guy pulls the trigger. AK guy was a quarter second or so from being able to shoot the driver if he chose to.
If I accidentally drove into an area and was immediately surrounded by a crowd blocking me from proceeding or retreating and putting their hands on my vehicle I would feel imminently threatened even if they weren’t clearly armed. If one of them pointed a rifle at my vehicle my alert level would go through the roof.
If the driver believed the gun was about to be aimed at him because he believed the AK guy intended to shoot him and the driver was not the initiator of the situation then stopping the threat could be a justifiable action. Especially if the rest of the crowd was all over his vehicle and acting in a threatening manner.
There are reports of a larger number of different peoples finger prints on the vehicle. There are also reports that there was significant evidence potentially illegally withheld from the grand jury by the prosecutor. Juries often have to base their decisions on an incomplete set of facts and they don’t always make the right choice based on the facts they are presented with. The quality of the lawyers involved unfortunately often plays a bigger role than the facts in many cases.
Without having access to significantly more of the evidence than I currently do I’m not willing to pass judgement either way.
How would this differ from, say, shooting a person with a gun in their holster because it was believed that they were going to draw the gun and point it?
Are you sure we want to justify shooting somebody, in part, due to the actions of other people?
Like, let’s say we combine these things, you end up in the area of a protest, someone sees your holstered firearm, and others are swarming a vehicle, so you get justifiably shot because the other person believed you were going to draw your gun and point it at them.
How different would that be from the situation at hand?
So are you saying that we have a legal obligation to not act on a reasonably perceived imminent threat until that threat is pointing a firearm directly at us or actively shooting at us?
That goes against the training I have gotten. Both in martial arts and weapons defense I have been taught to do everything possible to stop an imminent threat before they get the chance to seriously harm myself or other innocent victims.
I’m not saying that the driver was clearly in the right in this situation. I haven’t seen enough evidence one way or the other. But if this group of protesters were threateningly and illegally detaining the driver on a public right of way and then one of that group holds a rifle with their hand on the grip pointing in the direction of the vehicle (an act that in many places would meet the definition of brandishing and quite possibly assault) would the driver not have a legitimate argument for claiming they were being faced with an imminent threat?
I know I would be scared crapless in a similar situation if the crowd was detaining me and taking other threatening actions. Especially if my family was in the car.
In the fuzzy picture I saw it looked like the guy with the AK had his hand on the rifle grip and pointing towards the vehicle. That is a lot different than having the rifle slung over their shoulder or a pistol in a holster.
And if the AK guy was actively taking part in the crowds actions and those actions where illegally detaining and threatening the driver than how are his actions any different from someone who walks up to a random person on the street, shows them a gun in their waistband and tells them not to move?
And to be clear. It is equally possible based on the limited information I have seen that the driver started the incident and the AK guy was displaying his rifle in self defense.
Though I have read some reports that the AK guy had a history of questionable behavior. If those reports are true then we have to consider that perhaps some of his actions would have faced legal review had he survived the incident which may have aided in the drivers defense.
If the future is a few seconds or less away then I believe that is clearly considered a legally imminent threat.
I could see how the driver’s choice of words might introduce doubt into how much of a threat he believed he faced. But I could also easily see that what he was trying to say is that he felt the AK guy was going to raise his rifle and shoot him. Which is a logical imminent next step to consider after the raising and aiming parts. If the driver believed he was about to be shot and the crowd was imminently threatening him then I hate to think this guy is going to jail because he mistakenly or incompletely used the word aim instead of shoot after he went through this traumatic event.
If a criminal walks up to me on the street with their hand on a pistol in their waistband and says don’t move or something similar, I’m not going to wait for them to draw before I take action. That is a clearly imminent threat regardless which way the pistol is pointing.
It is my understanding that the driver got caught in the crowd. Either intentionally or by accident depending on which side you believe. In the one image I saw the car was clearly surrounded. Some of the protesters had hands on the car and the AK guy was immediately next to if not leaning on the vehicle. The driver could not drive away without hitting people. Which would have likely ended with the driver being in even more legal jeopardy and potentially shot by the AK guy.
Without seeing a full and clear video I cannot say whether or not the crowd was actively posing a deadly threat. The one image I saw sure does look like a pretty intense situation. And from that image the AK guy looks to be clearly part of the crowd. He is in the middle of a bunch of people and all of them are focused on the vehicle with none seeming to show any obvious concern over the guy pointing the rifle at the vehicle.
And I see a rifle held at low ready, prolly because he thought that the car and its driver were a threat.
Look, the jury did its due diligence, and found him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Looking at the statements of the Texas Governor and the Attorney General, they are raising political doubts about the conviction based on who the victim was and who the convicted murderer is. That is simply grotesque. It sends the signal to people like me on the left that the 2nd & Heller does not apply to me and mine.
Yes rifle at low ready, putting barrel likely pointing somewhere at the car door. He is leaning towards the car and staring at the driver.
It is possible he was acting defensively to a perceived threat. But with the rifle at low ready he could also be easily perceived as an imminent threat if he was not acting legally. I don’t know which and in this politically charged climate I don’t trust the DAs and juries to make the right call either way if it doesn’t fit their political agenda.
I did just watch an interview of what appears to be AK guy shortly before this event. He is wearing a buff to cover his face and when asked if he was going to use the rifle his answer was - if I use it against the cops I’m dead and the people who hate us are too big of p****** to stop and do anything about it so….
Guess you could view that statement as both vaguely menacing to LEOs as well as an intention of none violence at the same time?
Fortunately Heller and the second applies to everyone which is why we shouldn’t be quick to condemn or support people just because they may or may not be on the same political side of the aisle. I haven’t looked into the political leanings of the DAs, prosecutors and juries in this case. Unfortunately that seems to be a bigger factor in delving out justice these days than the actual facts of the case.
Hopefully the driver got a fair hearing but I don’t have a lot of faith in the justice system in our current politicized climate. And for the record I am no fan of either the Democrats or the Republicans.