Man Faces 30-Year Sentence in the Self-Defense Case Everyone Ignored Last Week

Opposition to the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict—which saw a jury accept the teen's self-defense claim after he shot two men and wounded another during a night of civil unrest—primarily splintered along two lines. In one, the jury supposedly got it wrong. In the other, even if the jury technically got it right, we allegedly need to pass new laws to prevent such a verdict from ever coming down again.

The latter largely reflects a well-intentioned attempt to narrow the racial and class disparities in the judicial system. But another recent verdict out of Florida, handed down the same day as Rittenhouse's, is a case study in why more punitive measures would hurt the very people who already face disproportionately negative outcomes.

Andrew Coffee IV was charged with the attempted murder of a law enforcement officer and the felony murder of Coffee's girlfriend, Alteria Woods. Deputies with the Indian River County Sheriff's Office shot Woods 10 times during a drug raid in 2017 targeting Coffee's father. The younger Coffee allegedly opened fire on deputies when they burst into his room that evening, having been awoken by the commotion and thinking the cops were an intruder. Deputies fired back, killing Woods.