Free Michael Giles
Michael Giles, a father of three with no previous criminal record, whose service to his country includes two tours in the Middle East, has been unfairly sentenced to 25 years in prison after shooting and lightly wounding a man in the leg who had struck him to the ground, where Mr. Giles was surrounded by a hostile and life-threatening mob.
The Giles case began almost nine years ago when he joined two friends for a night out in Tallahassee.
We at African American Conservatives (AACONS) ask for the addition of your name to this petition to end the unjust imprisonment of U.S. Airman Michael Giles.
As reported by The Grio:
In the spring of 2010, 26-year-old Michael Giles was on active duty with the United States Air Force and stationed in Tampa. The married father of three had recently finished two tours in the Middle East and was looking forward to a career in the military, says his family. One night in February, a friend invited Giles to party at a Tallahassee nightclub. Shortly after arriving, a fight broke out among members of fraternities from nearby Florida A&M University.
According to court documents, an argument quickly escalated into a brawl involving 30 to 40 young men.
Giles reportedly was not involved in the melee but, separated from his friends, went outside to the car where he had a gun, for which he had a concealed carry permit. Giles put the weapon in his pants pocket and searched the crowd for his friends.
Suddenly, he says, someone from the crowd punched him. Knocked to the ground and in fear for his life, Giles says he pulled out the gun and fired one shot into the leg of his alleged attacker.
This is not justice. Those who serve our country especially deserve better. As Judge James C. Hankinson, the judge who sentenced Mr. Giles, stated: “Frankly, I think the 25-year mandatory is overly harsh on the facts of this case, but that’s what the law requires I do.”
Airman Giles’ argument that he acted in self-defense has proved to be incontrovertible, largely due to his attacker admitting to the assault in court testimony. However Airman Giles was sentenced for aggravated battery as a result of mandatory sentencing under Florida’s odious 10-20-Life law, which was thankfully repealed in 2016.
Unfortunately the repeal of 10-20-Life law does not retroactively help the many like Airman Giles already serving unjust sentences under its draconian guidelines.
Furthermore, the Florida judicial system has also refused to release Airman Giles under its “Stand Your Ground” laws, which is advertised as a means for those who use lethal force out of “fear for their lives” to seek immunity, despite it being established that Airman Giles fired his gun in self-defense.
If “Stand Your Ground” can lead to the exoneration of George Zimmerman, and the initial lack of charges against Michael Drejka after he killed a man who had shoved him to the ground after a dispute over a parking spot, then why can’t it similarly exonerate a military veteran who fired a gun in self-defense?
By doing so you will be joining such figures as Lieutenant Colonel Allen B. West, Justified star Nick Searcy, Super Bowl champion Burgess Owens, Niall Ferguson of the Hoover Institute, Professor Carol Swain, Cosby star Joseph C. Phillips, former Florida Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll, Stacy On The Right’s Stacy Washington, Congress of Racial Equality chairman Niger Innis, Radiance Foundationchairman Ryan Bomberger, radio host Wayne Dupree, Tea Party Community owner Kevin Jackson, African American Conservatives co-founders, and many others.
By signing you will be telling Governor-elect Ron DeSantis and the Florida Clemency Board that it is time to send this military veteran home. We thank you.