Home Pop Culture Curtis Reeves to invoke stand your ground. Does he have a chance?

Curtis Reeves to invoke stand your ground. Does he have a chance?

Curtis Reeves
Can Curtis Reeves reasonably use the Stand your ground reason to defend shooting of fellow movie goer who disturbed him with noisy texts?

Retired police officer, Curtis Reeves shoots man dead in cinema cause his texting was too loud.

In the maddening conundrum altruism that is Florida gun laws, Tampa Bay resident, former police officer, Curtis Reeves has chosen to invoke stand your ground as a defense in the shooting death of a fellow movie goer.

The incident came to pass yesterday morning, when Reeves, 71 and a fellow movie goer, Chad Oulson, got into an altercation whilst the 43 year was ‘noisily’ texting his three year old daughter.

In going on to shoot Oulson after the two men’s back and forth arguments escalated, Reeves has now countered that he felt he was in imminent danger thus necessitating the use of deadly force.

tampabay.com: Reeves told Pasco Sheriff’s deputies Monday that Oulson stood up and struck him in the face with an unknown object when they were arguing inside a Wesley Chapel movie theater during previews. Reeves said he was “in fear of being attacked,” according to an arrest affidavit.

Not buying that line of defense is are local cops because the ‘unknown’ object happened to be a bag of popcorn. Assuming of course throwing popcorn now suddenly constitutes physical abuse.

Reeves wanted Oulson to stop texting. He walked out and complained to theater management. When Reeves returned to the 1:20 p.m. showing of Lone Survivor, “words were exchanged” and Oulson threw a bag of popcorn at Reeves, an arrest affidavit states.

Witnesses say the pair did not throw punches. Then Reeves pulled a gun and shot Oulson, who was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Reeve’s line of defense has once again led to the debating of the merit of Florida’s stand your ground law, how does one actually define ‘reasonable and immediate danger?” The qualifying factor for which the law allows the use of deadly force.

Relates gawker: And the definition of “reasonably” is quite elastic, law professor Charles Rose told Vander Velde:

Many factors could come into play, he said.

For one, when Oulson threw popcorn, that was technically assault under state law. Was it reasonable to respond with deadly force simply because of the popcorn? No, Rose said.

However, if Reeves considered the popcorn throwing to be one step in an escalating response from Oulson — and if the 71-year-old man feared that Oulson would come over the movie theater seats and physically attack him next — and if Reeves felt he wouldn’t be able to handle such an attack from a younger man, then jurors might consider deadly force reasonable, the attorney said.

“Here’s the problem: We’re trying to look into the mind of the defendant and posit what the thought was happening,” Rose said.

Then again one has to wonder what the heck to make of a former police cop who (incidentally started the Tampa Police Department’s SWAT team) comes to a movie showing with a loaded gun? How much sympathy can Reeves expect to receive from the courts? It’s not like he was on security watch, on duty, protecting his property, reacting to imminent danger (unless loud text noises now constitute imminent threats).

Then again there is the prevailing view from many that one should be allowed to bear arms at any moment and at any time. Which raises the question do we really want a society where violence is always one argument, misunderstanding, temper tantrum, one hurt ego away?

Isn’t it time Florida did away with an arcane law which legitimizes violence or is the law just a tacit acknowledgement that it’s fine to shoot and kill if one is in the mood and a smidgen threatened without having to make the effort to retreat in the first place?



  1. Florida gun laws our just fine , As a 61 year old man that has a carry permit with spinal damage and any punch to my head would leave me parilized from the neck down when do you shoot.
    The problem with the reeves case is the wife said on TV that she put her hand on her husband to stop him from advancing toward reeves . Why else would your wife put her hand around her husband but to redirect his movement . Just the fact that OLSON was moving toward reeves proves that he was in danger and had the right to shoot.

  2. This is a stand your ground case but are guttless judges our worried if they use it . I hope the people in her district remeber this case when she comes up for relection . This case is a waste of tax payers money . The problem judges don’t want to stand up and use the law as written .

    The victim did brake the law and commited a felony as the law is written . It is leagel to shot someone if the our in the commision of a crime if your personel safety is at risk.

  3. Your wrong the dead guy threw the popcorn and just a fact his wife said that she was trying to restrain her husband. In Fla that means thaT HE WAS MOVING FORWARD TORWARD THE SHOOTER . If that is the case he walks free another point the wife hand the bullet entered the back of her hand meaning she was pulling at her husband. If he was not moving toward the shooter why was she shot on the top of her hand.
    It was a very bad shooting but what really happen is a young guy didn’t want to crapt from an old guy and he lost .

  4. It’s pretty simple, the situation escalated because the shooter escalated it. The texting was going on during the previews of the movie, not the movie itself. When he left to find a manager to ask for the guy to be removed, and couldn’t, why didn’t he just change seats? Invoking SYG as a defense is this bastards way of trying to avoid life in prison, because no matter what length the sentence, a 71yr old cop going to jail won’t last long.

  5. Anybody can invoke SYG. Having a judge grant it is quite another thing. Demonizing the law because a person who would never be granted such protection invokes it is either stupid or just plain dishonest.

  6. Dear Florida –
    When you let lobbyist front men write your laws this is what happens.
    Google ALEC Stand your ground Florida
    You do business with the companies that support ALEC
    Google ALEC corporations
    You should be mad

    Not a shady conspiracy theory — just the facts.

  7. ” Reeves has deep ties to the community, attends church regularly ”

    Yet he seems sad when being arrested.
    Did the community or church teach him killing a man for childish reasons is good ?

    Thomas Trumble False Arrest

    Escobar called Reeves “a great man,” referring to his law enforcement career.
    He acted out of fear of being attacked.

    Why did this so called brave man fear a bag of pop corn ?

    Florida Neighborhood Watch

Comments are closed.