Florida’s Stand Your Ground law has been controversial since its inception. It was the subject of widespread debate following the murder of Trayvon Martin in 2012, and since then, more and more states have followed in Florida’s footsteps passing similar laws that seemingly allows individuals to use force in certain situations with little-to-no consequence if the individual feels they are in any “reasonable danger.” Most recently, the law was used to dismiss charges against a Florida Uber driver who shot and killed a 19-year-old passenger, The Miami Herald reports.
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According to the police report from Hollywood detectives, in 2022, Uber driver Christopher Bernadel told investigators that he and the victim, passenger 19-year-old Miles McGlashan, had gotten into a disagreement over McGlashan’s destination.
Bernadel then walked toward the Barry University student, words were exchanged and the passenger punched him in the head “multiple times,” the driver told police. After retrieving a firearm from his waist, Bernadel shot McGlashan one time before getting into his car, leaving and calling 911 minutes later around 7:30 p.m.
The report continues that police arrived to find McGlashan on the ground bleeding next to the Uber with gunshot wounds in his chest and lower back. He was in the hospital for 71 days before he was taken off of life support in early January of this year. Police never arrested Bernadel though Uber did remove him from the platform as a driver.
Making things worse, there were no witnesses to the shooting, police never updated McGlashan’s family about an investigation, and the Broward State Attorney’s office said examination of McGlashan’s gunshot wounds was “limited” because of life saving interventions performed during surgery.
Unfortunately none of that matters as the Broward State Attorney’s office has declined to bring charges against Bernadel because of Florida’s Stand Your Ground law.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Broward State Attorney Harold F. Pryor justified the decision not to pursue charges against Bernadel after meeting with McGlashan’s family. “Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law requires prosecutors to assess the facts and evidence we receive,” Pryor said. “While hearts and minds often struggle, prosecutors are tasked with and required by law to ensure there is not only probable cause to support a criminal charge but that there is also sufficient evidence to prove that charge beyond every reasonable doubt.”
McGlashan’s family now wants a state attorney to look over the case so it can possibly be brought before a grand jury. Willard Shepard, an attorney for the family, thinks Bernadel should be charged. “Once he got out of the car and pursued Mr. McGlashan, we believe he should be considered the aggressor,” he said.