Pensacola protester files motion to dismiss charges under ‘Stand Your Ground’ law

Northwest Florida

PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — A protester seen on video riding on the hood of a car is trying to get his charges dismissed and his attorney believes that should happen under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law.

On June 6, Black Lives Matter protesters moved from the Graffiti Bridge and spread out blocking the Pensacola Bay Bridge which is when an SUV drove into them.

“He was terrified going over the bridge,” Chris Klotz said.

Klotz is the attorney for Jason Uphaus who was seen on the hood of the car as it went nearly three miles across the bridge into Gulf Breeze.

“If you come off the hood of a car at 25 mph you’re going to die or be seriously injured,” Klotz said.

Uphaus says he was a lookout for protesters working to ensure no one got hit by a car.

Witness video shows a driver ignoring a police officer who was re-directing traffic. In one witness photo, you see the officer’s reflection in the window with her hand up trying to get the driver to stop.
Klotz said Uphaus couldn’t move quickly because he has physical limitations and sometimes walks with a cane.

“He didn’t really have a chance to go to one side or the other, so his option was to either go under the car or lean up on the car and get up on the car to avoid getting run over,” Klotz said.

Police say Uphaus knocked the side mirror off of the car.

Now, Klotz has filed a motion under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law to have the criminal mischief and disorderly conduct charges dismissed.

“Because Mr. Uphaus was standing there still not engaged in any type of threatening behavior toward the driver of the SUV who was approaching him at a rate of speed that caused him to have fear, he was justified in using force,” Klotz said.

Pensacola police say the investigation is closed and the driver of the SUV is not being charged.

The next step is for the court to schedule a hearing for Uphaus but because of COVID-19 restrictions, it’s not known when that will be.

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