Louisiana law make it easy for citizens to shoot to kill

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It’s unclear why the man who shot and killed former NFL running back Joe McKnight has been released from custody. It’s even less clear why Louisiana has a law that can transform the streets of New Orleans into Deadwood, South Dakota.

Louisiana has a “stand your ground” law, which surely will be an issue in the trial of Cardell Hayes, who shot and killed former Saints defensive end Will Smith earlier this year.

“A homicide is justifiable . . . [w]hen committed in self-defense by one who reasonably believes that he is in imminent danger of losing his life or receiving great bodily harm and that the killing is necessary to save himself from that danger,” the law states. “A person who is not engaged in unlawful activity and who is in a place where he or she has a right to be shall have no duty to retreat before using deadly force as provided for in this Section, and may stand his or her ground and meet force with force.”

As to the McKnight killing, key factual questions include identifying the aggressor and determining whether either party had disengaged from the exchange before it became deadly. Although further investigation may lead to the conclusion that the man who shot McKnight was not acting in self defense, the authorities have heard enough at this point to neither arrest nor charge a man who shot and killed another person less than 24 hours ago.

Surely, the “stand your ground” law was a major factor in the decision to set the shooter free.

41 responses to “Louisiana law make it easy for citizens to shoot to kill

  1. So basically if McKnight gets out of his car to defuse a situation, now the shooter can kill him without any penalty?

    Look I’m not a BLM supporter or anything but this law is so ticky tacky. It prevented justice that was supposed to be served in the Trayvon Martin case and now, possibly this one.

  2. What I don’t understand is that based on witness accounts, the shooter seemed like he clearly was the aggressor. Joe McKnight was shot as he was apparently “trying to apologize.” Then the shooter allegedly stood over him and said, “I told you don’t you f— with me.”

    If that’s true, I would think the shooter would have a hard time proving the killing was justified even under the stand your ground law. At least one would hope…

  3. Surely, the “stand your ground” law was a major factor in the decision to set the shooter free.

    Worth noting that unlike Cardell Hayes this guy didn’t shoot anyone else, which may have had something to do with his release as well. The fact that he hasn’t been charged doesn’t mean he won’t be.

  4. Counselor, this is just dumb on your part. I realize your practice is labor law, but it says very clearly in the article at the Times-Picayune that they’re investigating. It doesn’t sound like the shooter is anywhere near in the clear, and you didn’t bother to contact the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s office for any sort of comment. Even though criminal law may not be your thing, you’re experienced enough to know how the process works.

    Look, I get as well that you’re a blogger and not a journalist by trade, but yellow journalism on your part, not to mention a complete ignorance of the facts in the case (which only the investigating officers, the principals, and presumably the district attorney’s office know) demeans you both as a media member and as an attorney.

    Shame on you.

  5. According to witness accounts, McKnight was apologizing. And the shooter shot him AFTER he was shot and laying on the ground.

    It’s going to be extremely difficult to say McKnight was the aggressor if that is truly what happened.

  6. Stand your ground laws do not allow you to kill. Just means you do not have to retreat before defending yourself from a life threatening situation.

    You still have to show your life was in danger. I do not know what happened here and do not care.

    Get it right.

  7. Yeah but if you stand over the guy yelling smack while pumping lead into him, I cant see how its a ‘stand your ground’ type situation.

  8. Stand your ground laws are good. Not sure if it applies to this case or not, but don’t misinterpret stand your ground laws to mean that you can just kill someone any time for any reason. You still need justifiable reason (you life must must be in danger or your body is about to be seriously hurt).

    There MUST be more to the story than is being reported if they let this guy go. In today’s political climate, with a national story, with a high profile victim, trust me, even the NO police are not going to just willie-nillie this and let the guy go for no reason. So before we get all our panties in a wad of this, let’s let it play out and let the investigation complete before we pass judgment.

  9. i am sure the guy shot him just because he had a gun and had not killed anyone yet. why not wait until all the facts are in before you judge what happened? typical liberal though guns are bad and outlawing them will make everyone safe! except the criminals who seem to have no trouble getting them and killing every weekend in gun free Chicago and other cities right? and let’s not forget most of the mass shootings occur in gun free zones but yeah tougher laws and not letting people defend themselves will stop it.

  10. I’d rather live in a state where Stand Your Ground laws are allowed than in one where I have to run away before legally defending myself.

  11. It’s amazing that people are just starting to understand that all of these “stand your ground” laws are basically licenses to kill.
    Gun lovers are now almost as immune as cops who can claim that they were “in fear for their life” from an unarmed person running away from them. Next four years will be “great” for sure.

  12. Awful. Here in Canada you don’t shoot and kill someone during a traffic altercation, and then go home after. Not to mention the fact that road rage here doesn’t escalate to deadly force. Wake up good people of America. The 2nd Amendment was adopted in 1791 for crying out loud. We’re in the 21st century now. Stop living in the past!

  13. There’s nothing wrong with that law. If witness reports are correct, that law is irrelevant in this case. If the guy wasn’t charged because of that law, there’s something we don’t know. My guess is he will be charged later after more information has been gathered.

  14. I think we need to rush to jump to conclusions based on social media postings and purported “expert” opinions by any one who can post anything on the Internet. Recent past experience tells us that we actually shouldn’t wait until the investigation is complete and we have some actual “facts” before we start pushing whatever left-wing “solution” that “fits” the “narrative.” /end sarcasm

    I am sorry to hear of Joe McKnight’s death regardless of the facts of the situation and my thoughts and prayers are with his family. I also hope that the investigation into this situation is quick and justice is served.

    Final Note – The continued politicization and rush to judgement type of nonsense is why NFL ratings are down.

  15. lewand1 says:
    Dec 2, 2016 11:04 AM
    America being made greater by the day!


    Still on Obama’s watch…

  16. Every gangster and every criminal should carry around a loaded machine gun. Every state should have laws protecting everyone from any gun related crime. If you don’t agree with this, you’re a liberal. Lol

  17. Not commenting on this particular case because I do not have enough facts, but these laws don’t generally make it “easy to kill” or turn the streets into the wild west. They make it so that law abiding people can’t be compelled to flee by criminals using force and clearly outline the fact that you have the right to protect yourself. I don’t see how that’s really a political issue even. Seems like more an issue of basic human dignity to me.

    What isn’t mentioned here is conversely how in areas that don’t have “stand your ground” laws, you are legally required to try and run away if you feel threatened (including in your own home by an intruder), and that you have to prove that you tried to flee but couldn’t before you are legally allowed to practice self defense. Can you imagine defending yourself against an intruder in your home and then being prosecuted for it afterwards because you had to use force? This stuff actually happens and it is unbelievable.

    Sorry. Not a left wing/right wing thing. If someone broke into my home or was threatening to injure me because they have been overtaken by road rage, I don’t think it’s my responsibility to run away. Criminals are criminals, not people who act in self defense.

  18. mwdverof250 says:
    Dec 2, 2016 11:37 AM
    lewand1 says:
    Dec 2, 2016 11:04 AM
    America being made greater by the day!


    Still on Obama’s watch…

    Exactly. Obama was the one throwing this phrase around left and right which pretty much is telling everyone to be defiant to one another including law enforcement. Can’t wait till this guy leaves with his globalist agenda.

  19. Are Trump supports on this site pretending to be dumb or what?

    Your malice for the current POTUS is unnerving. And it has nothing to do with his policies, but everything to do with his name, perceived religion and skin color.

    Yeah, Obama is the worst POTUS ever!! He allowed the largest attack on our soil, invaded the wrong country (and celebrated like a moron about 13 years early) and let the guy who masterminded the attack get away. He allowed a city to drown after the levies broke and complimented the guy in charge of the fiasco. He allowed 13 attacks on embassies and 60 deaths (but Benghazi, b.itches!) He stood in charge during the 2nd largest economical collapse in the history of the nation and signed the bailout. Yep – that Obama was terrible… Err wait a second, that wasn’t him.

    I’m sure it’s Obama’s fault you are a bigot. Obama created your bigotry by having the audacity to become POTUS and to stick up for black follks. How dare after 250 years, a POTUS actually give a crap and give the benefit of the doubt to black folk. I totally understand how that upsets alt-right re:K cubed, types.

  20. the only Major cities that are taking on the look of Deadwood are cities like Chicago and Philly, maybe a couple others. Cities that , ya know, don’t have stand your ground. But go ahead, keep politicizing every murder.

  21. @thangkatruck

    I get what you’re saying, but I don’t think the law has much to do with it. I think the difference is that, by and large, especially in certain areas and among certain segments of the population, Americans are just more violent than Canadians and thus much more apt to want to kill each other. That being said, I know LOTS of folks who are big-time gun nuts, have concealed carry permits etc. (not me. guns aren’t my thing), and not a one roams around looking to kill people or shooting at stuff. All of them are older and are ex-military, cops or hunter-types who take the gun ownership seriously.

  22. He might still get charged but, and people are going to thumb me down for this, lets not pretend like Jefferson Parish doesn’t have a huge racial AND justice issue. In fact the state of Louisiana is pretty backwards when it comes to criminal justice. And that’s not hyperbole.

  23. “Louisiana law make it easy for citizens to shoot to kill”

    Do they plan on introducing marksmanship classes in elementary school?

  24. So, let me get this straight, you are against the ability to defend yourself? First, most if not all states give you the right to defend yourself with deadly force. Many do require you to retreat if safely possible, but many also allow you to stand your ground as Louisiana. The result may be been the same either way. Second, the insinuation by yet another liberal journalist that having pro-gun-owner laws leads to the wild west is as unfounded as it is ridiculous. Statistics do not support strict gun control laws and in fact support allowing law abiding citizens to own guns.

    How about we wait until the investigation is complete to blame the gun or the law (rather than the logical person to blame, i.e. the shooter or even potentially the victim if he was the aggressor)?

  25. I think you mean Deadwood, SD of the 1880s. It’s pretty peaceful these days.

    And while the assailant might be able to sell the first shot or two as ‘self defense”, it is going to be a lot harder to explain why he then unloaded the clip on him as he lay on the ground and posed no threat.

  26. Why isn’t this Gasser dude in custody pending arraignment. He obviously killed another human being while enraged to a traffic incident. It’s not like he shot a burglar who entered his home. This fat, old white dude doesn’t go to States with “stand your ground” laws. Now I can add Sates with “kill the carjacker” laws to my “do not visit” list too.

  27. I’ve posted twice about this, but apparently it won’t be allowed. I will say it one more time –

    davemishsr – if you don’t go to states with “stand your ground” laws, then you need to stay out of California. It has stand your ground and has had it for over 100 years. And in California, you can not only stand your ground, but pursue your assailant until the threat is neutralized.

    If my posts are not being allowed because you think I have misstated California law, please let me know. I guarantee you I have stated it exactly right.

  28. micknangold, you are wrong. California is a stand your ground state. You just don’t know how to research the law of the state – sources of law are not limited to statutes. The sources include case law. In California, the case law is reflected in jury instructions. Let me make it easy for you:

    The following is from California Criminal Jury Instruction 505

    A defendant is not required to retreat. He or she is entitled to stand his or her ground and defend himself or herself and, if reasonably necessary, to pursue an assailant until the danger of (death/great bodily injury/ ) has passed. This is so even if safety could have been achieved by retreating.

    That, everyone, is the most aggressive stand your ground law in the United States. And I like it.

  29. What I don’t understand is that based on witness accounts, the shooter seemed like he clearly was the aggressor. Joe McKnight was shot as he was apparently “trying to apologize.” Then the shooter allegedly stood over him and said, “I told you don’t you f— with me.”


    That was not accurate. The shooter never left his car and and fired the shots from inside his car. This was a road rage incident gone bad. McKnight followed the shooter’s car for miles before stopping and confronting the shooter through the open passenger window of the shooters car. By the “stand your ground” law in Louisiana, the shooter has the right to protect himself if McKnight leaned into the car or attempted to get into the car

  30. Here are some thoughts:

    1. Does anybody know that neighborhood?

    2. How credible is this witness or witnesses?

    3. What was he apologizing for in the first place?

    4. Is it possible that McKnight was starting something and the guy told him “not to F with me!” and McNight didn’t stop until he saw a gun then all of sudden he got real apologetic?

    5. Maybe that’s why the shooter leaned over afterwards and said “I told you not to F with me”?

  31. Stand your ground will have tragic moments, it will also have many success stories. I live in a Stand your ground state, and have peace of mind knowing I can legally defend myself if afraid for my life. To the knuclehead who stated the 2nd amendment was created in 1791 and we are in the 21st century??? The constitution was also created in 1791. Guess we should get rid of that also? Never mind, don’t really want to hear your answer, move to Kalifornia with the rest of the kooks.

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