PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The fatal shooting of an unarmed man by Pasco County deputies nearly six years ago is facing new scrutiny and a renewed call for transparency following the recent murders of George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks.
Video released by PCSO from 2014 shows the moments just before and after Jerry Dwight Brown was killed in what was ruled a justified shooting, activists argue that the censored video doesn’t show the full truth.
It all happened during an undercover drug operation when body cam video captured an undercover agent persuade Brown into the car for a drug deal. As soon as Brown pulled out a bag of pills, deputies swarmed the passenger side.
What happens after that has been redacted by the sheriff’s office, according to the timecode on the video. Eleven fateful seconds had gone by during which Brown was shot and ultimately killed.
The sheriff’s office ruled the shooting was “justified” because deputies said Brown ignored orders and made gestures that led them to believe they were in danger. But a wrongful death suit filed two years later by Brown’s widow argued that without a weapon, he posed no threat, made no furtive movements and was shot in the back.
The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office General Counsel told 8 On Your Side it cannot release those censored 11 seconds, citing a previous state law that exempts a death recording from public record.
However, an unredacted version obtained by the Tampa Bay Times shows Brown reaching toward the car door handle and within four seconds shots are fired.
Local activist Marlowe Jones says that speaks for itself.
“He was given no chance at all to get out to surrender,” Jones said. “The cops should not be the jury, the judge, and the executioner.”
Six years later, the sheriff’s office stands by its explanation and its deputies told 8 On Your Side, “Both L. Cabbage and Cpl. Green’s actions were cleared by the state attorney’s office.”
Both deputies involved are still with the sheriff’s office and the wrongful death lawsuit never went to trial because the sheriff’s office agreed to pay Brown’s widow more than $262,000.
Calls to her attorney today were not returned.
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