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.