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Osceola County sheriff blames Pokemon ‘thieves’ for deadly Florida police shooting

After what started as a petty theft involving Pokemon cards nearly two weeks ago ended in a police shooting that killed a young Hispanic and disfigured two teenagers, a lawyer of those teens accused a Florida sheriff of being embroiled on Tuesday for blaming the victims. officer’s fatal act.

On Monday, Osceola County Sheriff Marcos López slammed the wallpaper of four young men his deputy shot at after allegedly catching two of them shoplifting from a Target in Kissimmee. , Florida, and then wait for them to board before moving in to capture them. López said his officers were conducting tactical training when they suspected the vehicle they saw was parked in a disabled spot with a license plate cover, and two young men then walked out wearing masks. page and hood.

“After seeing this obvious suspicious behavior, training was ended and detectives were instructed to react to the target, to establish,” he said.

The sheriff painted young men – particularly the slain driver, 20-year-old Jayden Baez – as criminals while defending himself against calls for transparency about the death incident People. He eventually released a partially intercepted surveillance video from the Target store that didn’t show any theft, along with the deputies’ report that made no mention of the shooting.

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Attorneys for the family of four young men shot back at their own news conference on Tuesday, called the sheriff’s attacks a red herring and “full of misrepresentation”, placing Questions about the policies that are supposed to justify thieves end up with their cars rammed and shot as they are happening. surrounded by a crowd of sheriff’s deputies.

NeJame Law attorney Mark NeJame also shared a graphic image of Michael Gomez’s three bullet wounds, including one in the back – and claimed that the surveillance video released by the sheriff disproved his claims. it’s him.

NeJame told reporters: “These individuals were in an aquarium. “They’re sitting around playing ducks riddled with more bullets than $46 and change.”

According to the sheriff, López’s officers performed training exercises nearby before they decided to arrest — boxing in the car of four young men, newly released footage shows.

Officers then shot Baez dead while their bullets also pierced Gomez and both hands of 19-year-old Joseph Lowe, who said he raised them to protect himself. A 17-year-old man in the back seat was unharmed.

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“They don’t say, ‘Hey, freeze,’ they don’t do that,” Lowe said in a videotaped statement from the hospital Thursday. “And then not even half a second [later] They started shooting at the car, and I put my hand up and got shot six times. “

The sheriff has been criticized in the local media for refusing to release key information about how the alleged theft incident escalated into a violent and deadly incident involving Baez and three teenagers. year. As reported by Orlando Sentinel, Local records law experts have called his lack of transparency “disturbing”.

Although López eventually shared the video and incomplete reports of deputies from that evening, neither of which included the shooting itself, and at Monday’s defiant news conference, the sheriff from refused to discuss it, instead using the meeting to make a case against the youth. people and their alleged offenses, past and present.

“I think it is important to note that all the suspects in the vehicle have criminal records,” López said. “Specifically Mr. Baez, the driver of the vehicle” which the sheriff said has faced numerous criminal charges in the past.

NeJame countered that claim, saying that at least some of the cases López cited never led to criminal charges and Gomez had no criminal history either. The Daily Beast confirmed through public records that three charges related to a 2019 arrest that López referred to were labeled “inappropriate for prosecution”, and any could not be immediately found. any previous charges against Gomez.

“As expected, instead of dealing with facts and evidence, he opted for a personal attack distorting the unrelated histories of young men,” Nejame told The Daily Beast.

While López said that officers found a gun after officers pulled Baez’s body out of the vehicle, NeJame called the claim a “red herring,” because López did not assert that the gun was used. swing or be shot.

He told The Daily Beast: “It is intended to distract the public and others from the real issue, and that is the killing and killing of these individuals for no reason. “No gun was ever pointed at or swung or law enforcement even knew about it in the vehicle.”

Attorneys for the young men also allege the police used unbranded vehicles and failed to identify themselves as officers in the deadly incident – claiming the department used them as guinea pigs for training tactic.

On Monday, López said police had turned on their lights and clearly displayed vests that read “Sheriff.” And he said Baez crashed a police car while trying to flee, leaving a deputy with a knee injury.

However, the young man’s attorneys point out that the video released Monday night after the sheriff’s press conference did not show any visible police lights being turned on until after the police chief’s press conference. the first time delegates crashed into the teen’s car. Much of what happened after Baez tried to drive his car out of a blockade of deputies was blocked from view by trees and there was no sound on the video.

“It’s crazy to assume that these young men have done anything wrong,” Nejame told The Daily Beast. “The people who create and accelerate the situation are the delegates and their terrible policies on how they handle the situation.”

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Department or the families of the young men could not be reached immediately for comment Tuesday.

López declined to name the officers involved in the shooting, citing Marcy’s Law — a measure intended to protect victims of crime that has also been used as a tool to shield officers who have related to misconduct. He also cited the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s ongoing investigation.

“A lot of stores spent the week questioning my commitment or transparency and accountability,” López said. “While members of the media may disagree, I believe that the citizens of Osceola County recognize that referencing the investigation to a neutral, unbiased agency is the best method of transparency. transparent and accountable.”

For teenagers, NeJame said, they are recovering from both physical and emotional wounds, as families experience a range of emotions from skepticism to anger.

NeJame said: “It was all an attempt to smear and dirty them by the sheriff, which is really reprehensible. “It has nothing to do with this terrible policy of the sheriff, which ultimately led to the deaths and injuries of these young men.”

https://www.thedailybeast.com/osceola-county-sheriff-blames-pokemon-thieves-for-fatal-police-shooting-in-florida?source=articles&via=rss Osceola County sheriff blames Pokemon ‘thieves’ for deadly Florida police shooting

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