A Florida man who pulled a loaded gun on Black teen protesters on MLK Day — hurling racial slurs at them in a video that went viral — is asserting a "stand your ground" defense.
Mark Bartlett faces five felony charges in connection with the incident from 2019, which began after a group of Black youth — some as young as 11 — blocked a street to protest the lack of affordable housing in Miami.
Bartlett's girlfriend, Dana Scalione, got out of their Range Rover and began frantically confronting the protesters, video showed, calling them a "bunch of thugs" and pushing one of them.
Bartlett then jumped out with the loaded gun and unleashed a shocking, racist, expletive-laced tirade.
"Get the f*ck out of here, you f*cking piece of sh*t," Bartlett told the protesters. "You f*cking stupid n*gger, f*cking dumbass n*gger."
On Monday, some of Bartlett's teen victims — none of whom responded with violence — recounted the racist attack as they testified at a hearing where Bartlett's attorney, Bruce H. Lehr, alleged he was acting in self-defense and used "justifiable force," according to a report from Local10.com.
"They were banging on the hoods of the car," Lehr said. "They are scaring people. They have masks on."
Last year, a judge declined to drop the charges against Bartlett — carrying a concealed weapon, three counts of aggravated assault with prejudice (a hate crime), and improper exhibition of a firearm.
Scalione, a real estate agent, was fired from her job in the wake of the incident.
Bartlett's "stand your ground" hearing was expected to continue Tuesday.
Watch Local10's report and view a Twitter thread with raw video from the incident below.
MLK Day protesters testify on Brickell Avenue Bridge gunman's threats www.youtube.com