Kurt Anderson and Frida Frisaro (Associated Press)
OCALA, Fla. (AP) – Authorities on Tuesday arrested and charged a white woman who shot her front door and killed her black neighbor in a case that once again puts attention on Florida’s divisive Basic Law position. pressure was applied.
About 30, mostly black, demonstrators gathered outside the Marion County Justice Center to demand the arrest of the shooter in what has become the country’s latest flashpoint over racial and gun violence. The lead prosecutor, State Attorney William Gladson, met with demonstrators and urged patience while the investigation continued.
“If you’re going to sue, you need as much time and evidence as possible,” Gladson said. “I do not and will not compromise any criminal investigation.”
Ajke Owens, 35, a mother of four, was killed in a Friday night shooting that killed Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods, the culmination of a two-and-a-half-year feud between neighbors. said. They lived in the rolling hills south of Ocala, a city in North Florida, the center of Florida’s horse racing.
Woods said on Monday that detectives are working with state attorneys’ offices and should investigate potential self-defense claims before filing potential criminal charges. The sheriff said the position of the underlying law meant that the shooter could not be legally arrested unless he could prove he was not in self-defence.
A stuffed teddy bear and flowers were found near where Owens was shot on Tuesday. Children were riding bicycles, scooters and playing basketball nearby. Using Owens’ nickname, demonstrators yelled “no justice, no peace” and “ajajaj”. They held up placards that read, “Say the name of Ajke Owens,” and “It’s about us.”
Outside, Reverend Bernard Tagerson said Ocala’s black community has suffered injustice for years. “Marion County is suffering and needs to be fully healed,” he said. “If we do not recover from the world’s evil ways, it will be an ongoing problem. We want answers.”
The sheriff said Mr Owens was shot shortly after he went to a neighbor’s apartment who yelled at his children who were playing on nearby property. He also said a neighbor threw a skate and it hit one of the children, whose identity police have not released.
Police found Owens with gunshot wounds after receiving a burglary call Friday night. She later died in hospital.
A statement from civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, representing the Owens family, said the shooter continued to shout racial slurs at the children before the clash. He also represented the family of Trayvon Martin in 2012. The case, in which a black boy was murdered, brought the state’s position on the Basic Law to the attention of the world.
The sheriff’s office did not confirm the slander was issued, nor did it say whether race contributed to the shooting.
Lauren Smith, 40, lives across the street from where the shooting took place. That day, she was on the porch of her home and witnessed one of Owens’ young sons walking around yelling, “They shot my mom, they shot my mom.”
She ran home and began chest compressions until rescuers arrived. She said there was no altercation and Ms Owens had no weapons.
“She was angry the whole time the kids were playing outside,” Smith said. “She said terrible things to them. She’s just mean.” Smith, who is white, said the area is family-friendly.
Sheriffs said since January 2021, sheriffs have responded to at least six calls related to what police said was a feud between Owens and the woman who shot him.
The sheriff told investigators that the shooter was “very aggressive on both sides.” “Knocking on doors, banging on walls, threats. And at that moment Mr. Owens was shot through the door.”
“I’m completely heartbroken,” Angela Ferrell-Zabala, executive director of Mama’s Demand Action for America’s Gun Feel, told The Associated Press. She called the fatal shooting “very stupid”.
“We’ve seen this kind of thing over and over again in this country,” she said, adding, “It’s really because of lax gun control and a shoot-first culture.”
Ferrell Zavala said that when a white shooter kills a black victim, a “stand on the scene” lawsuit is five times more likely to be justified, which she called “the guns first law.” ” is called.
In 2017, the Florida legislature amended the state’s self-defense law to shift the burden of proof of a person’s self-defence claim to the prosecution. That means authorities must eliminate self-defense before filing charges. Before the law change, prosecutors could indict someone for shooting, after which defense lawyers had to make an affirmative defense of why their clients should not have been convicted.
Indeed, “castle doctrine” lawsuits, which stand their ground and allow residents to defend themselves according to law and precedent when threatened, have sparked outrage amid a spate of shootings across the country.
In April, Andrew Lester, an 84-year-old white man, mistakenly showed up at another house to pick up his younger siblings in Kansas City, ringing the doorbell of his black teenager Ralph Yahl. I shot and wounded you (16 years old). . Lester has been charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal charges. At trial, he may claim that he thought someone was trying to break into his home, as he told police.
Missouri and Florida are among about 30 states that have basic laws.
The most well-known example of opposing allegations came from the trial of George Zimmerman, who shot and killed Trayvon Martin.
Zimmerman, whose father is white and his mother is Hispanic, told police that Martin attacked him and forced him to use a gun in self-defense. He was released, but was arrested about six weeks later after Martin’s parents questioned Martin’s interpretation of the case and then Governor Martin. Rick Scott was appointed special counsel.
Before trial, Zimmerman’s lawyers chose not to pursue the case, which could have resulted in the murder charge being changed and immunity from prosecution. During the trial, however, the law was essentially used as part of his self-defense argument. A jury found him innocent.
At a wake Monday, Owens’ mother Pamela Diaz said she wanted justice for her daughter and grandchildren.
“My daughter, the grandson’s mother, was shot dead and her nine-year-old son was standing next to her,” Diaz said. “She had no weapons. She posed no immediate threat to anyone.”
Frisaro of Fort Lauderdale contributed to this report.
https://www.mcall.com/2023/06/06/protesters-call-for-arrest-of-white-woman-who-fatally-shot-black-neighbor/ Protesters call for arrest of white woman who shot dead black neighbor – wake-up call