A jury found Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty on all accounts on Friday afternoon. On the same day as the Rittenhouse acquittal, another young man who claimed he fired a gun in self-defense was also found not guilty of murder.
“A jury found Andrew ‘A.J.’ Coffee IV, 27, not guilty of second-degree felony murder, three counts of attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer by discharging a firearm, and one count of shooting or throwing a deadly missile,” the TC Palm reported on Friday.
Around 5 a.m. on March 19, 2017, at least 14 law enforcement officers — including SWAT team members in camouflage pants and shirts with “SWAT” on the sleeve — arrived at the home in Gifford, Florida. The shooter’s father, Andrew Coffee III, reportedly opened the front door to the house and was taken into custody by officers, according to Vero News.
Before entering the house, deputies yelled, “sheriff’s office search warrant,” according to witness statements from deputies.
“Coffee IV told the court he was asleep at the time the SWAT team arrived,” the TC Palm reported. “He woke up and thought he was being robbed. Coffee said he saw what appeared to be a rifle sticking through an open bedroom window pointed at him. That’s when he fired a .45-caliber pistol out of the window, shooting two or three times.”
Deputies returned fire with more than a dozen rounds shot towards the bedroom, according to court records. Andrew’s 21-year-old girlfriend, Alteria Woods, was killed after reportedly being struck by 10 bullets fired by the SWAT team, including one bullet that entered her chest.
Woods’ family said Alteria worked as a pharmacy technician, who was attending Indian River State College, where she was studying to become a pharmacist.
In January, Woods’ mother filed a federal lawsuit for misconduct against the deputies who shot and killed her daughter during the early morning raid.
In July 2017, a grand jury cleared SWAT team members of any criminal charges in the fatal raid, and a sheriff’s office internal investigation cleared them of any violations of policies and procedures.
In the elder Coffee’s bedroom, deputies said they found marijuana cigarettes, crack cocaine, 10 Hydromorphone pills, and one oxycodone pill.
The younger Coffee was acquitted of all of the murder charges after claiming he fired in self-defense. However, he was found guilty of possession of a firearm or ammunition by a convicted felon. Coffee — who has four felony convictions — faces a maximum prison term of 30 years at his sentencing on Jan. 13.
Coffee’s attorney, Adam Chrzan, gave an explanation as to why his client wasn’t charged with murder in the case, “We argued successfully, clearly, that there was some overreaction and overreach by the sheriff’s department on that raid. They should have pulled back, they didn’t. And this is what happens when you go into a volatile situation without all the information.”
Many commentators are drawing comparisons to the verdict for Coffee and Rittenhouse since they arrived within hours of each other and involved two defendants receiving not guilty verdicts in self-defense cases. Many social media users are also using the Coffee verdict in an attempt to dispel the notion that race played a part in Rittenhouse’s acquittal.
Immediately following Rittenhouse’s verdict was announced, left-wing talking heads ran to Twitter to claim that the outcome of the trial was a result of “white supremacy.” Several notable individuals — including NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace — invented a hypothetical situation where Kyle Rittenhouse would have been guilty of murder if he was black.
Daily Caller editor-in-chief Geoffrey Ingersoll stated, “People saying Rittenhouse would be found guilty if he were black ought to read about the Coffee verdict, which, as it happens, also came down today. Coffee FIRED ON DEPUTIES during a raid, made a self defense case, and won.”
Conservative writer Carmine Sabia wrote on Twitter, “If you say Kyle Rittenhouse would’ve been found guilty if he were black look at the case of Andrew Coffee.”
Conservative commentator Rob Smith said, “Black man acquitted in self-defense ruling after firing back in unannounced SWAT raid that killed his girlfriend. The Second Amendment is for all. Beware those who want you to think it’s not. Their intentions are not to protect you.”
Radio host and legal analyst Michael “Lionel” Lebron noted, “Andrew Coffee was also found not guilty in a jury trial by a system that apparently can administer justice to someone who is not white. I believe this destroys soundly the ridiculous myth promoted and propounded by the radical left.”
Since the Rittenhouse verdict, protests have ignited across the country.
Andrew Coffee IV found not guilty on all counts of murder, attempted first degree murder