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Florida self-defense Tag

When will Florida Man ever learn? Apparently, never. In Pensacola, Florida, suspect, Jarell Blackmon used a fake pistol to rob a food mart. He cleaned out the cash register and made off with ten cartons of cigarettes before the cashier used a real gun to shoot him. The Pensacola News Journal reported:
A Pensacola man robbed a Beacon food mart store early this morning using a fake pistol. According to a press release from the Pensacola Police Department, the suspect, Jarell Blackmon, 24, entered the store at 1101 W. Cervantes Street at 2:25 a.m., wearing camouflage, at hat and a bandana over his face. The clerk said he told the suspect to remove the bandana, but he refused. Blackmon then came behind the counter and pulled out a pistol which the cashier assumed to be real.

Although it had been widely reported (including right here at Legal Insurrection) that the Sanford, FL police department had banned Neighborhood Watch volunteers from being lawfully armed, Police Chief Cecil Smith now says that this policy was miscommunicated to the public. It remains true that volunteers in a more thoroughly organized form of neighborhood watch--called "Citizens on Patrol"--will be prohibited from being armed.   Readers may recall  "Citizens on Patrol" from early in the Zimmerman trial.  One of the first of the Prosecution's witnesses was Wendy Dorival, a civilian employee of the Sanford PD who acted as their liaison with local neighborhood watch programs.  She testified about her interactions with George Zimmerman in that context, describing him in glowing terms.  Indeed, so impressed was she with Zimmerman that she tried to recruit him for the more substantive "Citizens on Patrol" program.  In that program Zimmerman would have been provided with a patrol car, a uniform of sorts, and generally been as close to being a "real" policeman as he had ever hoped to become. Zimmerman declined the opportunity -- one might speculate because even then the position would have required that Zimmerman disarm himself.   So, if it was always the policy that "Citizens on Patrol" were required to be unarmed, but that the "standard" Neighborhood Watch volunteers could lawfully arm themselves, why the past few days news about these issues? I expect that the only real "miscommunication" from the Sanford Police Department has been in misunderstanding how severely negative the response would be to the notion that Neighborhood Watch volunteers would be required to leave themselves fatally vulnerable to criminal aggressors preying on their neighborhood. For those who are interested, here is Wendy Dorival's testimony from the trial:
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