Activists explode after officer-involved shootings that happened after suspects refused to cooperate

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FLORIDA – Two recent officer-involved shootings in Florida have sadly demonstrated how not following lawful instructions from a police officer can result in arguably preventable tragedy.

According to the Sun-Sentinel, on the morning of Monday, November 16, Sheriff’s deputies attempted in Dania Beach to pull over a Lexus with suspected stolen license plates.

Surveillance video reportedly shows that one deputy approached the vehicle with his gun drawn as another deputy also moved toward the car.

Video then shows the Lexus moving rapidly in reverse, nearly striking one deputy, then speeding off.

On an audio transmission recording, one deputy can be heard to say:

“That guy just tried to run me over in the road.”

The ensuing chase led police from a shopping center to an area filled with hotels.  A deputy boxed the Lexus in with his vehicle, and the suspect, reported as “armed” by the Sun-Sentinel, left his vehicle and began running from police.

A shooting occurred, leaving the suspect, later identified as Shane Jones, 38, dead of his wounds.

According to the Sun-Sentinel, further details of the shooting are yet to be released, and the shooting remains under investigation.

The Sun-Sentinel depicted loved ones as baffled as to how a beloved friend and family member such as Jones could have shot by police.

Headlining a recent article was a quote from longtime friend and sometime girlfriend Toccara McClover, who asked:

“How did a traffic stop turn into dying?”

The answer, of course, is sadly, tragically simple.  Jones, a twice-imprisoned felon who was no stranger to law enforcement, chose to disobey lawful orders, threaten the life of a deputy by nearly running over him, and attempt, while armed, to evade officers on a foot chase.

Within a day of this tragedy, another shooting occurred in Florida, one that was arguably just as preventable, and perhaps all the more tragic, as the suspect shot himself.

On the night of Tuesday, November 17, Devon Gregory, 18, was a passenger in a vehicle that was pulled over by Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office deputies for an unspecified violation.

Gregory died that night in an “officer-involved shooting” after a lengthy confrontation with officers, prompting civil rights activists to demand a special prosecutor in the case.

Bishop Tavis Grant and Rev. Jesse Jackson announced that Jackson had called Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody about the case.

The pair issued a statement calling not only for a special prosecutor in the case, but an investigation of the entire Jacksonville Sheriff’s office.

Grant told First Coast News:

“There is something wrong, systemically wrong, with Jacksonville law enforcement.

“And Devon Gregory paid a very high price.  He lost his life.”

But what was already known at the time those statements were aired was that the medical examiner had confirmed Gregory had actually shot himself.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s office has released nearly 19 minutes of body cam video showing officers trying to convince Gregory to show his hands and pull his right hand out from under the passenger seat.

A portion of the video can be viewed in the news segment below.

What is shown here in the video is a truncated version of the events surrounding Gregory, who continuously refuses to put his hands up, despite being instructed repeatedly to do so.

In the video, one officer asks the driver to step out of the car because he smelled marijuana coming from the vehicle.  The driver complies and is handcuffed.

An agitated Gregory can be heard shouting:

“I love y’all!  I love you!”

Officers can be heard to continue to encourage him to comply, instructing:

“Put your hands up.  Slowly.  Reach towards the ceiling.

“Slowly reach towards the ceiling.

“Relax.  Hey, it’s all right, bro.  You’ll be fine.”

Gregory responds from under the seat:

“No!  No!”

The officers continue to encourage him calmly, saying:

“Hey, we don’t want to shoot you.

“Slowly bring up your hand with nothing in it and…

“Listen to me, I promise you’re not going to get hurt if you just listen to me.”

According to Jacksonville.com, the rest of the video continues in this vein, with officers encouraging Gregory, and Gregory continuing to yell, sometimes telling those nearby to tell his loved ones that he loved them.

At one point, also according to Jacksonville.com, Gregory even called out:

“Shoot me, shoot me!”

In addition, the publication reports that an officer “reassure[d]” Gregory “at least three times”:

“We do not want to shoot you.”

Later, Gregory’s brother, who told Gregory to raise his hands, was removed by officers from the vehicle.

Gregory reportedly then shouted:

“My little brother didn’t do nothing.”

Then, according to Jacksonville.com, Gregory shouted for the officers to leave him alone, buried his head between his knees, and then one shot is fired and Gregory’s head was seen on the video to jerk.

After that shot rang out, offices were then reportedly seen and heard in the video to open fire on the vehicle.

As of November 20, the medical examiner had not yet determined which of the gunshots were fatal.

However, the fact remains, and tragically so, that the shooting and death of Gregory followed concerted, concerned, and repeated efforts by officers to encourage Gregory to comply with clear instructions.

No special prosecutor or in-depth investigation will change the fact that compliance with officer instructions in the cases of both Jones and Gregory would have led to an entirely different outcome.

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San Diego police release bodycam footage in officer-involved shooting of screaming, violent suspect

SAN DIEGO, CA – The San Diego Police Department just released body camera footage of an officer involved fatal shooting on Oct. 19. 

Officers were initially dispatched to the home on South Pardee Street regarding a violent disturbance by a man identified as Jose Alfredo Castro-Gutierrez, who was running around the home with a metal curtain rod before 4:30 a.m. 

Officers were notified that Gutierrez was smashing windows and other objects in the home. 

Callers reported that Gutierrez was a guest in the home and began acting paranoid to the point that the resident’s teenaged daughter was in fear, locking herself in a room to hide. 

On 911, the resident reports the incident and states that she, her husband and her teenaged daughter are still inside. 

During the call, you can hear a man, unknown if it is the caller’s husband of Gutierrez, yelling for help. 

Although the video has been blocked, screaming can be heard in the background of the 911 call, while police respond to the scene.  The 911 caller is trying to find a way for the people inside to get out, but the caller believes that the teenager is safer in the house, as opposed to trying to get past Gutierrez. 

Activists explode after officer-involved shootings that happened after suspects refused to cooperate
Screenshot from Youtube
Activists explode after officer-involved shootings that happened after suspects refused to cooperate
Screenshot from YouTube

The caller tells 911 that she believes Gutierrez is on “drugs.”  Another caller to 911 reported they could hear a man screaming for help in a way that sounded like someone was being tortured. 

Lieutenant Matt Dobbs of the San Diego Police Department said:

“The residents described the man’s behavior as paranoid and said he ripped a metal curtain rod from the window and began breaking windows and other objects around the home…

A neighbor also heard the commotion and called 911, reporting [that] it sounded like someone was being tortured.”

On the body worn cameras, officers are heard asking what the name of the person causing the problem is, while putting their gloves on and making their approach to the residence.  An officer calls out for Gutierrez and there is no reply.

Another officer, calls out for him in Spanish and immediately afterward a sound, like breaking glass is heard. 

Yelling follows, presumably by Gutierrez, who stands up and becomes visible in one of the body cameras. Gutierrez begins yelling unintelligently and can be seen brandishing the large curtain rod in his hand.

Activists explode after officer-involved shootings that happened after suspects refused to cooperate
Screen shot from Youtube

Officers, who have already identified themselves several times as police, order him to “drop it.” Instead, the man refuses and busts out of the front fence gate and continues yelling as he charges toward officers.

One officer with a bean bag round fired. Another officer fired a Taser. The officer who was being charged at by Gutierrez, who had the long curtain rod raised in the air as if he were going to bash the officer in the head, opened fire, shooting twice.

Gutierrez immediately fell to the ground. Officers are seen rendering medical aid to him and he was transported to a local hospital for treatment. Gutierrez would later succumb to his injuries while in the hospital.

Officer Isai Castillo, who fired the lethal weapon, will be suspended with pay as per protocol, until the conclusion of the investigation. 

The case will be reviewed by the San Diego District Attorney’s Office, who will determine if the officers acted in self defense, or if any criminal charges should be filed.

The San Diego Police Department Internal Affairs Unit will conduct a separate investigation, most likely after the District Attorney concludes theirs, to determine if officers committed any policy violations. 

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