In March of last year, Miami-Dade Fire Captain Nick Marian of Miami Shores, Florida, answered a knock at his door and the ringing of his doorbell. He lives in a rough part of town, and came to the door with a shotgun in hand. Police say they saw him pick up a shotgun from his couch and answer the door.

Prosecutors contended that he pointed the shotgun at the police officers for “more than a second” and that he knew that it was police officers at his door. His defense was that he had the right to protect himself, his actions were reasonable and prudent, and he had immunity under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. Captain Marian’s arguments won the day.

From nbcmiami.com:

A judge dropped charges Wednesday against a Miam-Dade Fire captain who was arrested for pointing a gun at a police officer.

Nicholas Marian, 55, was granted Stand Your Ground immunity in a bizarre encounter with a Miami Shores police officer. Fellow firefighters who had been rallying behind Marian were at the courthouse celebrating the ruling.

The entire process, from the incident to the judge dismissing the charges took nine months. Prosecutors had charged the fire captain with aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer. The judge ruled otherwise.

Bringing a gun to the door is prudent in numerous circumstances. It’s difficult to know if someone at your door is a police officer or not. Many criminals facilitate their crimes by yelling “Police!” during home invasions.

In this case, it only took a few seconds for the fire captain to determine that the people at his door were police officers. When he did, he cooperated.

The idea that citizens have to disarm themselves because someone at the door might be a police officer is repugnant to the rule of law.

This incident had a better outcome than the Gabriel Mobley case. Mobley was in the courts for six years before he was finally cleared.  That case went all the way to the Florida Supreme Court before Mobley was finally vindicated in 2014.

Perhaps the judge hearing the case against Marian referenced the supreme court ruling in favor of Mobley.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

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92 Responses to FL Firefighter Who Answered Door With Gun Cleared Under ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law

  1. Mr. Police Officer, please show me on this doll where the fire fighter hurt you… How in the world is this called ‘aggravated assault’ when the poor police officers don’t have a mark on them? And he’s INSIDE HIS HOUSE? Ridiculous. I wonder how much that cost him…

      • But, but, but, when liberals use the term ‘assault rifle’ gun people say ‘assault is an action’… I think the police officers’ and the department’s sensitivities were ‘assaulted’ and their feelings got hurt. For A SECOND. And they lost their minds.

      • And “Aggravated assault” is usually defined as the USA of a weapon to facilitate a the crime of assault. Are you contending that possessing a weapon while answering the knock of an unknown person is a criminal act?
        As for “… he pointed the shotgun at officers for more than a second..” is there proof on camera, y’know it’s not beyond the realm of possibility for some (not all) officers to seek revenge against an obstinate citizen by a false report or testimony. They’re going to be granted qualified immunity by the courts.

        • According to some states, yes, it’s aggravated assault.

          My dad went through this when some asshole trespassed on his land with an aggressive dog even though he never pointed the gun at either the guy or the dog, merely held it at a low ready while facing the dog. Fortunately the Sheriff’s deputy was pretty cool and the grand jury declined to indict.

          The charge he would have faced had the grand jury indicted him was “aggravated assault with a deadly weapon”.

      • At common law, it was the other way around. When legislatures started codifying the common law, they somehow switched it around. Just goes to show, our elected representatives have always been morons.

    • “Assault” in law refers to a threat. So the DA charged him with threatening the officer. I’m not saying that the legal definition is intuitive or reasonable.

    • “Mr. Police Officer, please show me on this doll where the fire fighter hurt you …”

      Ben for the win!

      That is the best comment that I have read in a really, really long time!

      Thanks a ton for the great laugh Ben! I sure needed it today.

  2. I routinely answer knocks to the door with a gun. It’s not in plain sight. But it’s there.

    If I saw a cop on the other side of the door I would disarm before opening. I can make that determination safely with the way my house is laid out. Maybe the captain had to wait to confirm.

    • I don’t know that I’d answer the door with the gun pointed AT the visitor… but it’ll be clearly visible on my hip. And I don’t think I’d disarm in my own house for the police… Nope. My house.

      • I’m with that. I carry constantly, if you don’t like it, go away! Unless I asked you for help, in which case you’ll never see my gun.

    • I think you are forgetting sometimes the police unlawfully try to enter a “castle”
      without a warrant
      without probable cause
      or not under exigent circumstances.
      We have heard of several cases where the police entered the wrong “castle”
      and the owner shot and officer dead.
      Even if charges are initially filed against the homeowner,
      they are eventually dropped.

      Just last year more than one group of thugs here in my town
      tried to enter a home by impersonating the police.

      • You’re all forgetting that the castle doctrine for FL says it needs to be an unlawful and forceful entry to your home, place of work or vehicle.

        1) At that exact moment, how do you know the entry by the officer is unlawful? They’ve not even shown you the warrant yet so how can you make that decision?
        2) The castle doctrine law in FL provides for a specific exemption for LEOs, therefore, shooting a LEO is always going to be unlawful if you’re going to rely on the castle doctrine defense:

        776.013 – Home protection; use or threatened use of deadly force; presumption of fear of death or great bodily harm.
        The presumption set forth in subsection (1) does not apply if:
        (d) The person against whom the defensive force is used or threatened is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who enters or attempts to enter a dwelling, residence, or vehicle in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using or threatening to use force knew or reasonably should have known that the person entering or attempting to enter was a law enforcement officer.
        http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0776/Sections/0776.013.html

        • “No knock” entries are fairly common. The whole concept of a “no knock” entry is to not let the occupants know what’s happening until the police are already in the house.
          That kinds does away with the whole idea of the occupants, especially if they are the type of criminals requiring a “no knock” entry, to know who is entering. It could be another group of criminals intent on revenge or robbery (which happens a lot).
          Many home invaders, as already mentioned, will impersonate police.
          The law you cite, as written, gives a prosecutor wide latitude in determining what “facts” are presented to a court, as opposed to what actually happened. Body cameras, when actually present (and working, which for some strange reason, often happens in certain instances) will help a lot in this.

        • That law gives the presumption to the defendant, meaning that the defendant doesn’t need to offer any evidence of his mental state, unless the state offers evidence that rebuts the presumption (if the presumption is rebutable, sometimes they are not). Self-defense is usually considered an affirmative defense, meaning that the defendant usually has to prove the elements of self-defense.

      • Where are those cops from? I have 4th amendment training 4 times a year. The top email in my inbox right now is about 4th amendment training.

    • We are socially conditioned to answer the door when a knock or doorbell is heard. Sort of like Pavlov’s dogs.
      Why answer the door at all? Are you anxious to make new police friends? If the Police have a valid reason to interfere with your peaceful existence, I’m sure that they will press the point, e.g. warrant search, SWAT, etc. The less contact that you have with the system, the better.

    • Almost anyone can purchase police uniforms, badges, patches, gear, etc so the fact that someone may look like a police officer does not necessarily mean that they are one. Better to make sure before disarming or letting them into your house.

      • No one comes in the house. If knock on door, go out back door to see who it is, armed. Pleas for help are common ruses for robbery. Everyone has a cell phone.

        • That reminds me of an almost off-topic story…
          My front door has a security door as well, so I can open the door and see who is there without allowing them access (of course, anyone can shoot through it).
          One night, the doorbell rang, and I answered it, opening the inside door with a pistol plainly visible.
          The guy tells me his car broke down out on the main street, and he needed to borrow a phone.
          Now, I live in the middle of my block. The idea that this guy didn’t have a cellphone, and tried all the houses until he got to mine, seemed rather far fetched.
          I just closed the door.

    • Personally I’m not disarming for any reason. I’ve done nothing unlawful and unless you find some reason to arrest me I’m not taking off the heater.

      That said, IIRC jwm lives in Cali where my attitude may not go over as well as it does here and getting shot to prove a point isn’t worth it.

      • Yes. I live in CA which has to be factored into any armed response. I’m over 60. In my life I’ve had 2 random cops come to my front door. Decades ago in WV, where I lived in the boonies, a state trooper pulled into my front yard to get directions. No gps in those days. And country roads ain’t always plainly marked.

        The second time was more recently in CA. Cops came to my door. They were going door to door on a report of a missing child. I was recovering from a leg surgery or I would have helped them in the search.

        If , as some of the responders here seem to be, you’re living a life where you fear phony cops home invading you maybe its time to change lifestyles.

      • It is just as awesome!
        I live in Phoenix, and this is big news here.
        Good Samaritan shoots assailant dead, literally in front of a cop. Actually, on top of a cop!
        It is my understanding, which may be wrong, that the Good Samaritan left the scene, and his ID is unknown.

        • Smart man. At least as long as no one got video, and he policed his brass. Thank you Good Samaritan, live long and prosper.

    • An assault is a threat. It’s “aggravated” if you threaten someone with a deadly weapon. The cops claim he threatened them with a gun, the charge fits that claim.

      Turns out, the court figured out that claim was false.

  3. The idea that citizens have to disarm themselves because someone at the door might be a police officer is repugnant to the rule of law.

    FIFY:
    The idea that citizens have to disarm themselves because someone at the door is a police officer is repugnant to the rule of law.

    • OTOH, there is a huge difference between a cop and someone who purports to be a cop.
      How does someone inside their home know which one is knocking on their door?
      While the law may not admit to the conundrum, a court certainly should.

  4. It’s interesting how other states phrase things in law.
    In Oregon, for an assault to have occurred, there has to be an injured person.
    Here, there is no such thing as battery.

  5. I sometimes wonder if we’ve really come that far from peasants and royalty. Obvious justice takes 9 months?

  6. Golly I answer the door with my shotgun very close at hand. I haven’t pointed one at a cop…yet. In fact unknown persons banging on my door facilitated my present gun ownership. THIS story is ridiculous…

  7. The article mentioned that the fire captain has been on paid leave since his arrest. With something like this hanging over your head, that’s not exactly vacation time. Still, if it were any of us in the private sector, aka, the real world, we’d just be fired and forgotten.

    In that case, good luck getting another job, especially in a specialized field like firefighting, with all this on you. Even better luck keeping your car, your mortgage, or even your marriage, under all that stress and financial burden while waiting to be cleared. So even though he was the victim here, his city position afforded him different treatment unavailable to most of us.

    The article also mentioned that it was unclear whether he’d be reinstated. 55 is pretty young to retire, so there could be several years of litigation in this innocent man’s future. And for what? Prudently preparing to defend himself and swiftly and accurately determining the police were legitimate? He should be hailed as a role model, not haled to court.

    • Sheesh! Good story, except anyone with a single LICK of sense has gotten completely debt free, and is not dependent on mortgages or car loans to continue through life. Other than mortgages, I’ve been debt free since I was 30. Dropped the last mortgage at 50, now I have been completely debt free for over 20 years. No one seems to have that as a goal anymore, we are just too SLY, we makin’ the big bucks on someone else’s money, Looky here, how smart I am a million bucks in debt. Ridiculous. But we keep letting shysters sell us that crap.

      • I also have been lucky in that regard; having the ability to be debt free isn’t in everyone’s grasp.
        Burning a mortgage is a good feeling.
        So is buying a car with cash, and keeping it for 18 years (so far), getting every penny out of it.

        I don’t quite understand the mentality of buying a new car, and having to roll the trade-in’s loan into the loan on the new one. If you haven’t even finished paying off the ‘old’ one, why are you buying a new one?

        But like I said, I consider myself lucky to be in that position of being debt free.

        • Debt is a bigger tyranny than a CA .gov. I’ve been debt free for many years and it’s wonderful.

    • “The article mentioned that the fire captain has been on paid leave since his arrest. With something like this hanging over your head, that’s not exactly vacation time.”

      I support LE but in this case it appears the officer is a pansy. I hope the now exonerated “offender” sues for his defense costs/legal fees AND all the overtime he lost out on. The firefighter is no spring chicken no doubt he is high on the seniority list with first choice of overtime, that could amount to $100k or more in certain locales

      • The problem is that the cops don’t pay settlements, the city and therefore the residents do. Now if it came out of the OT or some other operating budget, hurting specifically just the cops in that precinct, that would be fair. And maybe the other leos would start holding their “brothers” to a higher standard. The assholes know when they’re doing wrong, they just don’t care. Immunity and all that.

  8. I see no reason to open my door for the police, or anyone I don’t know. I’ll open for people I personally know. Otherwise, I’m happy to have my exuberant lab loudly body-check the door. And I’ll ignore you.

  9. When a stranger comes to my door, I answer with a gun in my holster. If a cop comes to my door, I answer with a gun in my hand.

    • Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend that. Ever. It’s not likely to end well.

      Usually your comments are entertaining. This time, not so much.

        • While true, choices have consequences.
          Even if you make the right choice (as in the OP’s story), it can get very expensive, and not just in money.
          The arrest, even with charges dropped, remain on his record, unless he pays a good attorney to get it taken off the record. Every traffic stop will show that arrest. (OK, just most of them.)
          The strain on a family can be destructive.

          And, yes, the complaining officer is a pussy.

  10. So a mentally ill homeless man can be beaten to death by cops on camera, with no punishment for the cops, but a man opening his own front door with a gun to find trespassing cops can be charged with aggravated assault.

    Land of the free, yo.

        • Kelly Thomas was not a “victim” he WAS a “perpetrator” and “career criminal” who was caught once again breaking into cars then “resisted arrest with violence”, he only played the “mentally ill” game because he was sure to be headed back to the slammer for his latest offense. If Thomas’ family was so concerned with his well being they should’ve gotten their criminal DNA bearing offspring under control, as it was they had had enough of his crap and kicked him out of their house, now they’re hoping for a big payday.

          MAGA!

        • I like how you buy into that total BS simply because I question it, even though the most cursory examination of the facts of the Kelly Thomas murder (an event that received massive press coverage) can reveal them to be false.

          How gullible are you? 🙂

        • There’s facts and then there’s more dead soldiers facts. Pick any profession, any group of people and I can cherry pick incidents off the web to make them look bad, that’s a more dead soldiers fact.

          Your mindset is equally as ridiculous as those that portray all ar15 owners as adam lanza wannabes. You have a ridiculous mind so how can you be taken seriously?

        • Please provide proof that Kelly Thomas was a “career criminal”, or that he resisted arrest (pro-tip, the entire video of his murder is online).

          Seems like you don’t even know what cherrypicking means, or how to stick to proper context, or how logical arguments work, among many other mental deficiencies. 🙂

        • Wasn’t talking about kelly thomas. Was talking about you. My point stands. Your way of debate can be used by anyone. I can cherry pick facts that make cops look like heroic pillars of society. Doesn’t matter.

          You have the same mindset as the progressive, statist you claim, notice I said claim, to hate. And anybody that doesn’t toe the line you chant is a “bootlicker” etc. Classic statist.

          No wonder you were so upset when hillary lost.

        • In that case, instead of interjecting into a thread about Kelly Thomas, try actually stating the subject of your mindless bloviations. In other words, learn how to write, this is basic elementary school stuff. 🙂

        • LMAO. A troll accusing someone else of bloviating. I stated my self quite clearly. You want to pretend that you don’t get it, tough shit.

          You are of the same mindset as the anti gun progressive, statist. One does bad all must be bad.

          Nobody can be that stupid without an agenda. Or can they…..

        • And re read your first statement. The one I responded to. It don’t say nothing about kelly thomas. Just a mentally ill person. So, knowing that you suffer from a plethora of mental illnesses I made a funny.

          And it got your panties knotted tight.

          Do you believe I’m the only one that sees you for who you are? Unbelieveable. A nutter troll that thinks he has credibility. Unreal.

  11. “The idea that citizens have to disarm themselves because someone at the door might be a police officer is repugnant to the rule of law.”

    The problem is officers can be on your property, with no legal right and shoot you dead because you are armed. Even if you do not aim a firearm at them, the fact they are not there with just cause is besides the point. Hell they shoot people who are UNARMED in their own homes and face no legal backlash beyond some civil penalties that are covered by the local towns/cities. The problem with this country is our police officers have little accountability in all but the most absolutely egregious imbalanced and unlawful uses of force.

  12. If you feel that a door knocker is a threat, why open it? You can yell through the door or ignore it. Want to know if the cops are real? Call 911 and ask them.

  13. The man ids a fire captain. I am sure that he has been civil service for quite awhile. Firemen. police officers and other hero jobs allow for early retirement, usually after 20 or 30 years, even when they are not disabled. Many will go back and contract themselves out while drawing a pension from their civil service career. Sherriffs and police captains are many times, political appointments. Most of these guys have had a carreer and now run the show.

    You think that some unions have set up thier workers as stewards and the like so they could double dip and live the good life, you should check out civil service – it used to pay little with great benefits. The retirement plans were good, if you put in your time and made a certain pay grade. In the last 20 years, while wages have stagnated, civil service wages have come up and their benefits are second to none.

  14. Bringing a gun to the door is prudent in numerous circumstances. It’s difficult to know if someone at your door is a police officer or not. Many criminals facilitate their crimes by yelling “Police!” during home invasions.

    I always have my hand on a pistol when answering the door.. I do a surreptitious draw. The person or persons at the door can’t see the gun, which is kept out of sight. Anyone can impersonate a police officer — that’s standard criminal technique. Your best defense is to trust no one, even if they look like a police officer. Call 911 to verify whether the person at your door is a cop or not.

    • Another approach is not opening the door and calling 911 to ask them if one of the cops is outside the door. If the kick it in and shoot people or dogs you’re on the phone with 911 and it’s all being recorded.

  15. Cops aren’t satisfied with just the general public despising some of their actions, now they want to go full retard and have other government workers hate them too.

    They’re in a bubble, just like politicos and the MFM.

  16. “The idea that citizens have to disarm themselves because someone at the door is a police officer is repugnant to the rule of law.”

    FIFY

    If government employees are armed, then citizens have every right to be armed as well. The life and safety of a citizen is more important than the safety of a government thug.

  17. Jonathan, I’m a LT in a FD and also have plenty of time in the ” real world ” as well as of course a wife , two daughters and many friends there . They get a DWI work could care less, me I get fired, I swear at a neighbor or some guy at the gym, he can press dept. charges against me ,I’m talking off duty out of uniform . My work rules govern me 24/7. I had a person take a picture of me buying shaving soap and blades , in uniform and send the pic. To,the Chiefs office and complain I was doing personal business on work time, I was on my way home…..

    Get fired before I got 20 years on ,zero vesting in pension , while ” real,world” guys take their 401 along with the company match .

    Hey it’s a good gig for sure, but the grass isn’t always greener.

  18. “Police say they saw him pick up a shotgun from his couch and answer the door.” How EXACTLY did they see this happen?

    What are the PERSONAL ramifications/penalties for the cops and prosecutors involved it this travesty/theater of “justice”?

    • When a cop points a gun at your head, it’s for his safety (because your safety is totally irrelevant).

      But when you don’t point a gun at a cop, it’s “aggravated assault”.

      But… but… cops are civilians… cops support 2A… policeone poll said so.

  19. I always just talk through the door. I tell them unless you have a judge’s signature to legally enter my home, it is up to you whether or not you feel comfortable talking to someone you cannot physical see. I have only had to do this a few times, but it keep the conversation quick and to the point as most LEO’s don’t like staying long not knowing what could be going on the other side of the door. I do always say it’s nothing personal and thank you for your service.

  20. Now for REAL justice to be served the costs for this mans legal fees will be reimbursed to him….out of the pocket of the DA who insisted on pushing this insanity.

  21. “Police say they saw him pick up a shotgun from his couch and answer the door.”
    How did the police watch him? Was the door open? If so the Captain should have seen the police and not needed to point at them whereas if it was closed and the police were watching through a window, then it is reasonable that the Captain had the shotgun up and ready (not necessarily “pointed” but merely ready).

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