Stephan Long’s Case: A Call for Justice and Fairness in Self-Defense Law

As we dive into the new year, the fight for justice remains unwavering. The story of Stephan Long, a case that epitomizes the complexities of self-defense law and racial disparities, demands our attention and action.

Last year, the Denver Justice Project and steadfast community advocates, alongside Stephan Long’s family, began a powerful movement. Their collective efforts aimed to challenge the remaining first-degree murder charge against Stephan. His trial, marked by a not-guilty plea, stands as a testament to the resilience of those seeking fairness and equity within the legal system.

The events of June 13th, 2023, narrate a harrowing tale of survival. Stephan Long found himself in a life-threatening situation on I-25, facing physical assault from two individuals. Fearing for his life and the safety of his loved ones, he exercised his right to self-defense using a legally registered firearm. Shockingly, instead of protection, Stephan was met with arrest and the weight of two first-degree murder charges, coupled with an exorbitant bond.

Stephan’s family, supported by community organizations like the Denver Justice Project and Denver Aurora Community Action Committee, fought tirelessly. Their dedication fueled a week of action in August, an impassioned plea for justice that echoed through emails, calls, and rallies, demanding the dismissal of charges against Stephan.

Four months of confinement followed before Stephan was released on bond, restricted to his home. The battle extended beyond legal confines; Stephan’s mother took her plea to the Denver City Council, raising concerns over potential racial bias in the application of self-defense law. These concerns were echoed by 11 City Council members in a letter addressed to DA Beth McCann.

The turning point arrived on October 18th when the first charge of first-degree murder was dismissed due to insufficient evidence. Yet, the glaring disparity remains: Stephan’s actions in both incidents were rooted in self-defense, yet only one charge was dropped.

As the pursuit for justice continues, we recognize the pivotal role of legal representation. We appeal for support in raising funds for Stephan’s private legal counsel—a crucial step that could redefine the outcome of his case.

Stephan’s story underscores a pressing need for consistency and fairness in the application of self-defense laws, regardless of race. It serves as a reminder of the work ahead, our commitment to equity, and the urgency to stand united against systemic disparities.

Let’s champion justice, support Stephan’s legal defense, and strive for a legal system that upholds fairness and equality for all.

Join us in this crucial endeavor.

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