There are SO many lessons for self-defenders from this incident involving Kareem Mano and De’Andre Thomas that was caught on camera. Don’t discount them because of first impressions; instead, think critically as a self-defender about how your intent and your actions will be interpreted by a DA and jury!
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Local news story #1: https://get-asp.com/o7pb
More details on Thomas: https://get-asp.com/nehq
Thomas was out on bail on a robbery charge when this happened: https://get-asp.com/7y5h
More on Mano, who had no criminal record and who seems like a decent guy, generally: https://get-asp.com/rd9b
What does this video teach us about conflict escalation and self-defense?
- Mano doesn’t appear to be a terrible kid. Arrest for marijuana possession in 2012, but nothing in GA records about a conviction that I could find, so he doesn’t have any criminal record. He might have a GWL, though Georgia doesn’t make those public. Nevertheless, bad company corrupts good morals, so there’s a lesson for all of us here about choosing your associates wisely!
- Nevertheless, what Mano did when he drew his firearm was aggravated assault under OCGA 16-5-20 and 16-5-21. The first pillar of lawful, moral self-defense is “innocence.” (get a nutshell here: http://get-asp.com/wbbp or the whole concept here: http://get-asp.com/1fqe ) Innocence requires that we not be the instigator of the fight and that we not be the aggressor or the perpetrator. In some states when we attempt to leave or run we can re-establish innocence in self-defense, but states differ on that. Regardless, getting into a fight is a poor basis for a self-defense claim later, so always live in such a way that innocence isn’t a problem for you.
- Thomas can’t really claim innocence either, because he had a stolen firearm on his person and by OCGA 16-8-12 (6) (B) he’s committing a felony, and is also facing other charges that he was out on bail for. Again, your claim of self-defense to the jury only needs to fail on one of the five pillars to fail, so his fails.
- One of the five pillars of lawful, moral self-defense is “imminence,” (get a nutshell here: http://get-asp.com/wbbp or the whole concept here: http://get-asp.com/1fqe ). Imminence means the threat is happening RIGHT NOW, that it’s neither too late nor too early for you to defend yourself! The standard of imminence is seen as a triad of ability, opportunity, and jeopardy (also known as the AOJ triad, which is explained here: http://get-asp.com/pm3k in some detail).
- Another pillar of lawful, moral self-defense is “reasonableness.” (get a nutshell here: http://get-asp.com/wbbp or the whole concept here: http://get-asp.com/1fqe ) In every defensive incident we ask whether the actions of the defender were reasonable from an objective standpoint. Would an objective, reasonable person do what you did in the moment? A good test of whether your actions are reasonable is whether you did them to stop the threat or to punish someone (Charles Humes calls it “The Punisher Test”: https://get-asp.com/nybt it’s a good comparison) Will a jury see Thomas’ pursuit of Mano as reasonable? I doubt that highly. A reasonable, sane, sober, moral person who felt in threat of their life is going to move AWAY from a threat, not into it. A LEO moves into a threat as part of their law enforcement responsibility, but not a reasonable CCW.
Attitude. Skills. Plan.
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