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First it was the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case. Now it is the NYC, biker/SUV attack and its accompanying video. This latest incident only proves that all the “Stand Your Ground” and “Duty To Retreat” laws in this country should be re-examined, clarified, amended or eliminated. They also need to be exposed for the unfair advantage they offer criminals.

It is a shame that, in this latest incident, someone had to be paralyzed, but who was right and who was wrong is not the issue. The problem is that these laws do not clearly define what is probable and undeniable cause for the use of deadly force. They also, ironically, change the meaning of who is the attacker and who is the victim.

The video in the NYC Biker/SUV attack; however, offers us more visual insight into how each of these laws should be changed. It also shows how without the availability of credible evidence, these laws are taken advantage of by attackers to get away with their crimes.

For instance, NY State has a “Duty To Retreat” law.  A “Duty To Retreat” law is different from the “Stand Your Ground” law in Florida. In the “Duty To Retreat” law, the driver of the SUV – if he was to be charged with running over the bikers – must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he had exhausted every means available to escape, and had shielded himself or hid from his attackers. He also must prove that he did not use deadly force with a weapon until he was moments away from injury or death. With this law, the intended victim now becomes the criminal.

It is significant to note that, in most cases of the “Duty To Retreat” law, the accused is almost always found guilty. His burden of proof is far more greater than in the “Stand Your Ground” law defense. In the “Stand Your Ground” law defense, the attacked does not have a duty to retreat. They can stand their ground and defend themselves immediately.

This is why George Zimmerman never invoked the “Stand Your Ground” law in his defense. If he had, the prosecutor could argue that he was potentially, the original aggressor. Both of these laws deal with the victims responsibilities under the law, whether or not they have to attempt to escape. They do nothing to punish the attacker for his continued pursuit.

In the video of the NYC, SUV attack, it becomes plainly clear that the SUV was under attack on three separate occasions. The first was when it became cut off then surrounded by the bikers. The second was when the SUV was stuck in traffic. In that instance, the video shows a biker running over and pulling the SUV’s door open. The third is when the SUV gets stopped in traffic again, then is attacked by a helmet-wielding biker. In all three-instances, the SUV attempted an escape. It was revealed today, by the NYC Police that the SUV’s driver had already called 911 when the confrontation first began and was already under attack.

If this video had not been made available, surely the driver of the SUV could have been charged with a crime for running over the biker. This would have resulted in a long, drawn out, legal case and debate of the “Duty To Retreat” law.

In the “Duty To Retreat” law, the attacker (original aggressor) has the advantage. The victim is subjugated into fleeing before having the right to defend himself. This allows the attacker to continue the pursuit (like what happened in NYC) without having to worry about the law saying he should have ceased the attack.

The solution is simple: change both laws, so the attacker has the disadvantage – by allowing the victim to defend themselves before having to go over a checklist, that gives the attacker more time to kill them.

© Joseph E. Rathjen – All Rights Reserved – 2013

Joseph E. Rathjen is an Opinion Columnist/Staff Writer for WomanScope NewsMagazine and a Opinion Writer for 1World Online.


5 thoughts on “NYC Biker/SUV Attack Video Revives “Stand Your Ground” Law Debate

  1. The driver was put into a situation where he had no control of the safety for himself or child. The Biker Cruz had a plan to force the SUV to hit him and force it to the side of the road. The driver did the right thing for any normal traffic accident. What was about to happen after that was pour evil. The gangs plan was premeditated violence. Why do you think Cruz was looking back to make sure that he wouldn’t get hit hard enough for himself to get hurt. It would appear that this was not his first time being rear ended. Too f’n bad for the half a man now who’s job it was to block the front of the vehicle. But if he wanted to run with the dangerous crowd, he found the line where flirting with danger and real danger meet. No matter if the law is hide your head like a coward or standup for your self to bad people. This driver did the right thing. If Cruz and Meezee weren’t out to hurt people, bad things wouldn’t happen to them. Maybe something good will come out of the hollywood scumbags training video on “how to car jack people on the highway.” Don’t park in front of the guy you plan on beating. He might just choose flight over fight and crush your ass with 3500 lbs of steel. Apparently the cowardly bikers have never seen a range rover commercial and what they can easily drive over.
    The question here should not be “should the driver of the land rover do something wrong?” the question should be “How many years in jail should this gang get in prison for their crimes?”
    Lets stop blaming the victim and truly punish the criminals.

    • Good points, lem. But now with Gloria Allred representing the paralyzed biker, this case is growing to balloon each day. If the driver gets charged (and under the law, he can) the “Duty To Retreat” law will come under massive scrutiny like the “Stand Your Ground” law did with the Zimmerman trial. Thanks for taking the time to write all that!

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