LAKELAND — A judge on Thursday rejected a motion by rapper Kevin Gates that a misdemeanor battery charge against him be dismissed.
Lawyers for Gates argued last week that the charge against him for kicking a fan at a club in Lakeland during a performance should be dropped based on Florida’s “stand your ground” law. But County Judge Sharon Franklin wrote that Gates’ kick was not a justified action in response to Miranda Dixon grabbing his shorts twice.
“While a simple act of touching or pushing someone without his or her consent may amount to simple battery, the Court finds that such a minor act does not necessarily rise to such a level as to justify the use of force in return,” Franklin wrote.
Stand your ground allows people to defend themselves with deadly force if they face an imminent threat, death or great bodily injury.
In the five-page order, Franklin wrote that Dixon’s testimony was more believable and Gates’ testimony was “troubling in terms of his credibility.” At the hearing, Gates, whose real name is Kevin Jerome Gilyard, described how there was no one on stage with him that night.
But Franklin said a video showed there were at least seven other men and a child on stage.
“Defendant testified that he is always scared for his safety at his shows because of death threats he’s received, yet he allowed a very young child to not only walk out on stage with him but allowed this child to remain on the stage for the entire performance,” Franklin wrote.
Franklin also wrote that Gates initially stated that he did not remember being grabbed but later said he was grabbed twice. Gates is accused of kicking Miranda Dixon, 19, on Aug. 30, 2015, at Rumors Niteclub off Memorial Boulevard while he was performing in front of a packed club.
Dixon twice grabbed Gates’ shorts before she was kicked. Dixon said on the stand last week that she suffered bruising to her stomach. If convicted, Gates faces up to a year in jail for the misdemeanor battery charge. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Aug. 25. A trial date has not been set.