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Man Who Assaulted 5 Year Old Uses Stand Your Ground Defense

Osmailer Torres struck a five-year-old boy and is using the Stand Your Ground law as his defense.

Miami, FL – A Miami tennis instructor is citing the state’s Stand Your Ground law to claim immunity in a child abuse case after he struck a five year old that he said was armed with a tennis racket.

Osmailer Torres, 30, was arrested by Miami police officers in July, 2016, after he allegedly took away the boy’s pint-sized racket and hit him with it. The child received a bruise on his right arm and a lump on his eyebrow.

The incident was captured on surveillance video, and occurred on the playground at Miami’s First Presbyterian Church on Brickell Avenue.

Torres claims that he inadvertently struck the child as he was rescuing other students that might be hurt.

In Torres’ motion claiming immunity, his attorney, Eduardo Pereira, said that the boy was the “initial aggressor,” and had been involved in “various violent altercations” against fellow students, according to the Miami Herald.

Pereira also said in the motion that after the boy was separated from other kids, he lifted a racket and was poised to strike other students.

Pereira told the Miami Herald that Torres acted “reasonably in trying to prevent harm” to others — and was unaware his racket hit the boy.

Prosecutors are fighting Torres’ claim, and said the video shows that “at no point did the 5-year-old child approach any of the other children in an aggressive manner” and that the child didn’t believe it was an accident.

In the video, the boy can be seen holding his arm in pain.

In response to Torres’ motion, Assistant State Attorney Gabriela Plasencia wrote “It is the state’s position that [Torres] was not acting under the imminent threat of danger to himself or others.”

The Stand Your Ground law began in 2005, and has caused controversy since its inception.

In 2012, the law brought national attention when neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman fatally shot Trayvon Martin.

Zimmerman was later charged with murder, according to the New York Daily News.

Zimmerman was fully acquitted by a jury.

The state law allows judges, using a legal standard, and before a jury hears the case, to grant immunity to someone who claims self-defense.

In 2017, lawmakers revised the law, shifting the burden to prosecutors and forcing them to disprove a defendant’s claim of self-defense in a pretrial hearing.

A Miami judge later ruled that the legislature overstepped its authority, and the legal fight is continuing in higher courts.

A Miami Dade Circuit Court Judge will consider Torres’ request at an immunity hearing early next year.

GinnyReed - December Fri, 2017

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