Last month, Uber driver Robert Westlake was driving down a dark, empty roadway in Polk County. Suddenly, an aggressive driver in a pick-up truck appeared in his rearview mirror. The driver tailgated Westlake for a minute, then swerved in front of the Uber and slammed on his brakes—forcing Westlake to stop.
34-year-old Jason Boek jumped out of his truck and charged Westlake angrily. Boek was waving an object in his hand and shouted, “you know I got a pistol? You want me to fucking shoot you?”. A split second later, Boek fell to the ground—shot by Westlake. The Uber driver then called 9-1-1 and attempted—unsuccessfully—to resuscitate Boek.
The Uber driver’s dash cam captured the entire exchange, and he has agreed to cooperate fully with any criminal investigation. However, the Polk County sheriff’s office has made it clear that they do not intend to bring any charges against Westlake. According to them, Westlake’s actions were a clear case of self-defense, which is protected under the state’s stand your ground law.
Florida’s stand your ground law states that an individual has no obligation to retreat from their attacker. In fact, they are allowed to fight back—with deadly force if necessary—if they believe their attacker intends to kill or inflict severe bodily harm on them. The law grants immunity to defendants in such cases.
In order to use the stand-your-ground defense, your attorney must be able to prove that you acted in self-defense. It’s important to consult with an experienced defense attorney to understand whether this defense applies to your case.