Kansas teenage death puts the spotlight on “stand-your-ground law”

Topeka, Kansas (AP) —Kansas legislators were homeowners more than a decade ago when they created a “stand your ground” law that allowed the use of deadly forces for self-defense. Faced with robbery, people were thinking of attacking on the street. They did not expect it to apply to police officers, prison guards or civil servants.

Now even some Republicans in GOP-controlled parliament who support the idea behind the law want to revisit it. Reason: The prosecutor said this week Prevented him from being charged criminally Employee of Wichita’s Boy Intake Center at the Death of a Black Teenager The person who was detained The ground in his stomach was handcuffed and handcuffed for over 30 minutes.

Police took 17-year-old Cedric Lofton to the center after foster care said that mental health tests were needed due to increasingly unstable behavior.

The criminal accusation was dismissed by the judge after Sedgwick County District Attorney Mark Bennett concluded that Bennett’s employees were acting in self-defense during his replacement with Lofton on September 24. He said it was likely. He said Kansas courts have extended their right to self-defense to the point of “how can we prosecute police officers by shooting someone?”

While other legal experts and law advocates don’t think Bennett is right, critics of self-defense law in about 30 states rely on law enforcement to protect officers who use deadly forces. It states that it is being used more and more.

“I don’t know how you apply your position to that scenario,” said Senator Ty Masterson, a Republican in the Wichita region who voted for the law currently in the book in 2010. Told. “It’s for self-defense to allow you to protect yourself.”

Kansas Parliamentarians focused on individual self-defense in the 2010 edition. The bill was unanimously voted by Democratic Governor Laura Kelly and Republican Attorney General Derek Schmidt as members of the State Senate.

Kansas House Chairman Ron Ryckman Jr., a Republican in the Kansas City region, said Bennett’s comments immediately prompted discussions among GOP Commission Chairmen on the law, and “we did it. I thought I’d take a look. “

The US Congressional Commission is preparing to investigate Lofton’s case as early as next week, and Rickman said, “I think your position will be clear.”

Kansas law Eliminate the obligation to withdraw before the attacker exerts lethal force on the attacker if he or she believes that it is “necessary to prevent imminent death or major physical harm” to himself or others. did. Another section Give them an exemption from criminal charges and civil proceedings.

The bill was not intended to apply to cases like Lofton, said Schmidt spokesman John Milburn. Kelly declined to comment on Friday when asked about Bennett’s comments.

After years of self-defense decisions, Milburn said, “The legislature may consider them all to make sure they are all interpreted and functioning as intended. It may be wise. “

Robert Spitzer, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the State University of New York in Cortland, is conducting a study focused on gun policy and politics, and Bennett’s conclusion in the Lofton case is why they’ problem. He is the author of the book “Guns Across America: Reconciling Gun Rules and Rights”.

Joera Hui, a Democrat and gun safety activist in the Kansas City region, said he was working on a law to amend the law. But without Republican support, Rickman’s interest is very important, as no action has an opportunity.

The Kansas Republican interest in the revision of the law does not necessarily encourage relaxation of “stand your ground” protection in GOP-oriented states where strong support for gun rights is a political obligation in many areas. Nationally, experts said they were unaware of the case of the retreating state, and in 2017, Florida legislators have been strengthened Their state law.

Lofton’s case is not the first case in which Bennett cited the Stand Your Ground Act for not filing criminal charges.Last May he announced him Do not charge On behalf of Sheriff Kansas, who fatally shot an unarmed female who refused to pull during high-speed police pursuit.

Bennett is not the only prosecutor to enforce the law.

In Johnson County, Kansas City Area, District Attorney Steve Howe quoted the law in 2018 Refuse to charge An Overland Park police officer who fatally shot and killed a 17-year-old boy who had retreated from his family’s driveway.

Howe said in 2017 that Congress needs to revisit the law. Bennett has also been discussing just as much for at least a few years.

“When I feel frustrated, or struggling to hide my frustration, it’s when something has happened for 10 years and suddenly people get angry with it,” Bennett said. rice field. “Where were you?”


Hollingsworth reported from the mission.


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