In late November, Alcisviades Polanco of Tampa cut off Wathson Adelson, also of Tampa, in traffic on Manhattan Avenue. Adelson then sped around Polanco and stopped his car. Both men got out of their cars and began to argue.
The argument turned physical. Adelson reportedly outweighed Polanco by about 100 pounds and was approximately three inches taller. According to Polanco’s attorney, Adelson began to overpower Polanco.
At some point, Hillsborough County deputies reported that Polanco grabbed an ice pick he had in his car and stabbed Adelson in the head and arm. Adelson was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital, where he died three weeks later.
Prosecutors recently announced they would not pursue murder charges (or any criminal charges) against Polanco, saying his actions were found to be covered under Florida’s “stand your ground” law.
Under Florida’s “stand your ground” law, passed in 2005, anyone not committing a crime can use deadly force if he feels threatened with death or great bodily harm. Legal precedent indicates that someone is allowed to use that force even if the threatening person is unarmed. “Stand your ground” expands on an earlier law that allowed people to use deadly force to defend themselves in their own homes. The newer law allows for the defense in any place.
Polanco’s defense attorney said that Polanco got out of his car because he thought Adelson was going to try to pull him out of the car and beat him up. He felt his life was in danger.
Polanco has some minor traffic infractions on his driving record but no criminal history.