When William Golladay was arrested for checkout rage, he was charged with a felony battery. In Florida, for a battery charge to be a felony, there has to be an enumerated aggravating factor, otherwise the charge is a misdemeanor. This prompted someone to ask me if the cops were trying to classify the shopping cart as a deadly weapon, the most common aggravtgor. No, the cops have charged Golladay with a felony battery because the victim is 65 years of age, or older. Florida has enhanced the battery on a senior charge to discourage exploitation of our many elderly citizens.
But wait, isn’t Golladay even older than that? Yup- Golladay is 77 years old himself. The law does not discriminate based on the advanced age of the accused, even in this case, when he’s a decade OLDER than the person he allegedly battered. As a third degree felony, Golladay is potentially facing up to 5 years in prison, though he’s not likely to be sentenced so severely, unless he has a substantial record.
It can be dangerous to live in Florida, especially during the winter season, when snowbirds swell the population of areas like Southwest Florida. A 71-year-old retired cop near Tampa made news this week, when an argument about texting in a movie theater escalated and he shot then man sitting the row in front of him. There is a discreet subset of public safety issues attributable to elderly citizens that increases at this time of year, from crotchety neighbor disputes, to cars crashing into buildings (already had one this week). Old people are still not as dangerous as young people, but they are not immune from getting into trouble.