A black man was cleared of all charges for shooting a racist white man during a McDonald’s encounter under Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” law.
Devin Gibbs fired a gunshot the day after Christmas 2015 at Phillip Ledea, who began shouting racial slurs and making violent threats because he wrongly believed the younger man had cut him in line, reported the Miami Herald.
“I got something for you,” Ledea shouted, according to defense attorneys. “N*gger I’ll kill you, n*gger I’m going to shoot you.”
Gibbs, now 25, left the fast food restaurant while waiting for his food, surveillance video shows, and picked up his order after Ledea had sat down to eat.
The older white man then followed Gibbs out of the McDonald’s and continued screaming threats from the doorway, according to defense attorneys.
Gibbs believed at this point that Ledea was armed and intended to kill or seriously injure him, lawyers said, so he threw down his food and fired one shot from his gun.
The gunshot shattered the glass door, and customers dove to the ground to take cover, but no one was injured by the shot.
Ledea, who has a history of arrests, admitted to police that he was drinking beer and had gotten involved in fights with other young adults before his confrontation with Gibbs.
“I’m a New Yorker, I don’t back down from nothing,” Ledea told investigators.
Gibbs was cleared after nearly three years when Circuit Judge Veronica Diaz dismissed aggravated battery with a weapon and carrying a concealed weapon charges against the part-time dockworker.
The judge agreed that Gibbs had acted in self defense when he fired at the older man, finding that Gibbs had sufficient reason to use potentially deadly force to meet a perceived threat.
The law drew national scrutiny when Florida police decided not to arrest George Zimmerman for fatally shooting unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012.
Prosecutors ultimately decided to charge Zimmerman, who was acquitted of murder following a jury trial.