Newly released body camera video shows just how dangerous it is for police on the streets, even for a seemingly innocuous burglary investigation.
Keeping in line with Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters' revised policy about releasing portions of officers' bodycams within 21 days of a police shooting, he and Chief of Professional Standards Chris Brown posted their second "critical incident community briefing" of 2023 on the agency's Facebook.
This involved the second of back-to-back days with fatal police shootings and saw an officer fired upon at close range, with the bullet grazing his face. For print subscribers, the video can be viewed at facebook.com/JacksonvilleSheriffsOffice.
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Brown reiterated these investigations involve multiple interviews and hours of body camera video and forensic analysis and are only a preliminary stage of the ultimate findings between the Sheriff's Office and State Attorney's Office. Discretion also is advised about viewing the footage since it involves a man being killed.
When and where was this Jacksonville police shooting?
It happened in the early evening of Jan. 20 in the 1800 block of Hardee Street near Farifax Street off Kings Road.
Who was shot by Jacksonville police on Jan. 20?
Leon Bernard Burroughs, a 39-year-old black male from Jacksonville, was shot multiple times and killed.
Who were the Jacksonville officers involved?
Their names are protected under the state's Marsy's Law, but they were five white males, according to the Sheriff's Office. The Florida Supreme Court heard arguments in December about whether the identities of officers who kill suspects can be kept secret under Marsy's Law, a constitutional amendment designed to protect victims of crime.
What happened in the Jan. 20 Jacksonville police shooting?
Officers were following up a burglary in the 1700 block of West Second Street that occurred about 5:30 p.m. Brown said they were given a description of a black male wearing a black hoodie, jacket and skull cap and leaving on a black bicycle.
They also were informed that the burglary victim's smart watch had been stolen. That person was able to track the GPS on the watch to nearby Hardee Street. About an hour later officers saw the bicycle matching the description and learned from a family member that the suspect owned it and was living in his car.
They located the vehicle, and the five officers noticed a handgun on top of the car and a man sleeping in the back. They decided to move the gun from the roof and open both doors at the same time, which is seen in the video.
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The lead officer can be heard telling the man to wake up as they surrounded the car and kept flashlights shined on him. They repeatedly tell him to put his hands up and to step out of the car. He repeatedly responds "what's going on" and to get the lights out of his face. The officers begin to get a little impatient and one tells him, "Leon, step out, step out or we're going to pull you out." And within seconds for unknown reasons, the man fires a shot grazing the lead officer in the face, and all five returned fire killing him.
The Sheriff's Office also provides a slow-motion version of that final moment and an additional officer's bodycam footage from the rear of the car.
What evidence was found?
The Sheriff's Office said the gun and a shell casing were located in the car as well as the smart phone. Forensic analysis confirmed the casing came from Burroughs' firearm, Brown said. The handgun that was originally noted on the car's roof also was confiscated.
What happens next in the Jacksonville police shooting case?
An independent investigation of the case will be conducted by the State Attorney's Office to determine if the officers' actions were lawful. The Sheriff's Office will then begin an administrative review that involves its internal Response to Resistance Review Board, which will hear testimony from the officers and decide if any policies were violated. The sheriff will make a final decision on any recommendations that could call for reprimands or additional training.
How many police shootings have there been in Jacksonville in 2022 and 2023?
So far this year, Jacksonville police have shot three suspects, all fatally. In 2022, Times-Union records show Jacksonville police shot 12 suspects, eight of whom died.
This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Jacksonville police shooting video released involving grazed officer
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