Evidently it can never be said too many times: It’s just not a good idea to take the law into your own hands – especially when you may not have an adequate understanding of the law you presume to enforce. The result may well be criminal charges levied against you and not the person(s) whom you independently sought to police. At which time, you may find yourself in dire need of an experienced Miami criminal defense attorney, rather than getting a hero’s accolades.
Case in point: As the Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office tells it, a 62-year-old black man, Clarence Daniels, walked into a Florida Walmart with his legally concealed firearm. His intent was to buy some coffee creamer.
Michael Foster, 43, who is white, saw Daniels enter the store; before that, though, Foster saw Daniels conceal his weapon in a hip holster under his coat. So, when Daniels finally walked through the door and entered the store, Foster tackled him and subsequently placed Daniels in a chokehold.
Sheriff’s deputies reported that Foster yelled, “He’s got a gun!”
In response, Daniels reportedly yelled back many times, “I have a permit!”
The two men struggled for a time until officers could arrive on scene to separate them. Foster was placed under arrest and charged with the crime of battery.
According to a sheriff’s spokesman, “Unfortunately [Foster] tackled a guy that was a law-abiding citizen. We understand it’s alarming for people to see other people with guns, but Florida has a large population of concealed weapons permit holders.”
Rather than attempt to take any vigilante-related behavior, such as tackling a man who is shopping for coffee creamer, the sheriff’s office recommends that citizens either alert security or call 911. That’s also the office’s advice even if it appears that drastic measures may need to be taken.
“You better make sure there’s a good reason,” the spokesman added. “Otherwise you might be confronting a guy that is legally permitted to carry a gun.”