A Miami judge has dismissed charges against a young Black man accused of shooting at an unarmed patron who threatened him after wrongfully thinking he jumped the line at a local McDonald’s.
Devin Gibbs was cleared this month under Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law after making his case to the judge that he acted in self-defense when he shot Phillip Ledea at the popular fast food restaurant in December 2015, the Miami Herald reported. Ledea reportedly began hurling racial slurs and threats at Gibbs after thinking he cut in line to place his order.
Gibbs, a part-time dockworker who stopped at the restaurant to buy a meal for his son the day after Christmas, was charged with aggravated battery with a weapon and carrying a concealed weapon. Ledea wasn’t hurt in the shooting.
In court, defense lawyers argued that Ledea’s false belief that Gibbs had skipped the line triggered a diatribe of “unprovoked” racial slurs from the older white man. “I got something for you … N****r I’ll kill you … N****r I’m gonna shoot you,'” Ledea told Gibbs, according to defense lawyers.
McDonald’s surveillance showed Gibbs leaving the restaurant after receiving his order, but Ledea was spotted close behind, following the young man and “screaming threats” at him from the front door. Defense lawyers said the footage then shows Ledea “grab toward his waistband” as if he had a gun, prompting Gibbs to throw down his food, draw his gun and fire a single shot.
No one in the restaurant was hit, but the bullet shattered the glass door and sent patrons scrambling for cover, according to the Miami Herald.
In their request to toss the case, lawyers Andrew Rier and Jonathan Jordan wrote that Gibbs believed Ledea was armed and came outside to act on his previous threats to kill him “or do serious bodily harm.”
Ledea, who has a history of arrests, later admitted in a deposition that he made a threat and told Gibbs he was “going to kick his ass,” according to court documents. The man also said he drank a beer that day and “had engaged in fighting other kids ages 18-20.”