Judge, jury and executioner were the roles played by one DeLand, Fla., police officer as a suspect fled on foot in May before being mowed down by a police cruiser.
According to reports, when an officer attempted to pull over Marlon Brown on the night of May 8 for an alleged seat belt violation, the man attempted to elude police, prompting a high speed chase. When Brown leapt from his vehicle and attempted to flee on foot, he quickly ran out of places to run in a neighborhood vegetable garden with an adjoining fence.
The man tripped and fell on his back, at which point he turned toward officers — seemingly to put his hands in the air and surrender. Unfortunately for Brown, Officer James Harris did not exit his vehicle to pursue Brown like other cops on the scene. And when Brown tripped, Harris, who was attempting to catch the man with a squad car, had no time to stop.
That day, Brown received a death sentence.
“Simply put, this was an execution in a vegetable garden,” said Benjamin Crump, the family’s lawyer, of Brown’s death.
According to Click Orlando, the original medical examiner’s report said there is no evidence Brown was struck by the vehicle.
But Crump contends that the video, which police initially refused to release to the public, tells a different story. See the video here.
“The officer came at Marlon with such velocity that once if he fell or not he could not have stopped,” he said. “And for what? An alleged seat belt violation. That’s why we were having this high speed chase?”
While Brown had a long criminal record (he previously served jail time for drug possession and had been arrested more than two dozen times in 20 years), his family said that the incident was unjustifiable and a simple case of “vehicular manslaughter.”
DeLand Police Chief William Ridgway said in a statement that Harris’ conduct was not “consistent with our department’s training, directives or accepted practices or techniques” and that the officer has been fired.
A grand jury decided not to charge Harris with a crime.