A Florida judge rejected a “stand your ground” defense from Mark Bartlett, a white man who shouted racial slurs and waved a handgun at a group of Black teen protesters.
Bartlett is facing charges for a January 2019 confrontation he had with a group of teenagers in downtown Miami, per The Miami Herald. Bystander video showed Bartlett and his then-fiancée Dana Scalione leaving their vehicle to confront the kids, who were protesting a lack of affordable housing.
Still receiving details. The earlier video was the *second* time she got out of the car to harass the teenagers. pic.twitter.com/lif03bR3SY
— Dream Defenders (@Dreamdefenders) January 22, 2019
In the video, Scalione was in a shouting match with the protesters and accused them of running over her foot with one of their bikes. She even shoved one young man. Eventually, Bartlett walked up and started shouting insults and racial slurs. He used the n-word at least three times.
Bartlett was later charged with five felonies, including the improper exhibition of a firearm, carrying a concealed weapon and three counts of aggravated assault with prejudice, per Local 10.
Earlier this year, Bartlett’s legal team filed a “stand your ground” motion, which was the center of a two-day hearing this week. During the proceedings, Bartlett claimed he was trying to protect Scalione, reported WSVN.
“Now that the 30 people are surrounding her at that corner, you see Dana [Scalione] start walking to the right,” Bartlett said during the hearing. “As soon as she does that, I hear a scream, and I hear her screaming. I heard Dana screaming. I reach back into my car, grabbed the gun out of the glove compartment, and I ran. I kept the car running. I kept the door open, and I ran as fast as I possibly can to the direction that the mob were chasing Dana. She was being attacked, without a doubt in my mind.”
Circuit Judge Alberto Milian wasn’t swayed by the sob story and threw out Bartlett’s defense. He cited the use of racist language during the feud.
“The use of racial comments shows he was simmering,” Milian said on Thursday. “He was an angry man. He was inconvenienced. He wanted to go back to Broward County. There was no reasonable justification.”
Bartlett’s trial is scheduled for December 6.