[Warning: Video is disturbing]
A deputy in Brevard County, Florida shot and killed two teens, newly released dashcam footage shows. The local sheriff’s office said the official was in harm’s way. An attorney for the family of the deceased, however, said the teens were in fear for their lives.
Angelo Crooms, 16, and Sincere Pierce, 18 were shot and killed in a November 13, 2020 incident. Newly released footage from the dashcam of Deputy Jafet Santiago-Miranda showed at least two sheriff’s patrol vehicles following a gray sedan. The sedan stopped temporarily in a local driveway. Deputies stopped behind the vehicle, and authorities stepped out with their guns drawn. The gray sedan backed out of the driveway and turned around, facing the patrol vehicles. It briefly backed up again, and then went forward when a male deputy opened fire multiple times at the car. The gray vehicle rolled out of frame.
“After reviewing the limited footage released by Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, it is painfully troubling to us that this teen driver and the teen backseat passenger were terrified and drove around deputies who approached the vehicle with guns draw,” attorney Benjamin Crump said in a statement released Thursday afternoon. “Believe your own eyes. The video shows the deputy was still shooting as the car cleared him and posed no threat.”
MEDIA ALERT: @AttorneyCrump has provided the following statement regarding the dashcam footage released by @BrevardSheriff in the case of A.J. Crooms and Sincere Pierce. pic.twitter.com/S9uFxa6wDr
— Ben Crump Law, PLLC (@BenCrumpLaw) November 18, 2020
Believe your own eyes is pretty much what the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office said as well, but to different effect. They said the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating, and that the sheriff’s office was limited in what they could release, but they did say the incident happened as part of a follow-up investigation on what deputies thought could be a stolen car that had recently fled from another deputy.
According to the official account, Santiago-Miranda and Deputy Carson Hendren saw the vehicle in question, and tried to make contact with the people inside. They say that Santiago-Miranda gave seven verbal commands for the driver to stop. (An occupant in that vehicle allegedly told FDLE that the people inside could hear the commands, the sheriff’s office said.)
“As you can clearly hear and see on the video recording, Deputy Santiago-Miranda gives repeated verbal commands, 7 to be exact, for the driver of the vehicle to stop the car, however, the driver of the vehicle, 16 year old Angelo Crooms turns and accelerates the vehicle towards Deputy Santiago-Miranda who was then forced to fire his service weapon in an attempt to stop the deadly threat of the car from crashing into him,” the sheriff’s office said.
They said two firearms were found in the vehicle.
Crump dismissed the sheriff’s office statement, claiming the authorities were just trying to justify the killings.
“If anything, the deputy appears to have moved closer to the vehicle to get a better shot,” Crump wrote. “The video shows that the deputy continued to fire shots into the side of the vehicle as it was passing him, after he was out of harm’s way. This disturbing incident, which cost the lives of two Black teens, again documents the dangers of driving or even riding while Black — since the deputy also shot into the backseat, killing a passenger.”
Crooms and Pierce were Black.
Santiago-Miranda and Hendren are on paid administrative leave, authorities say.
Deputies say the FDLE expects to present their findings to the state attorney’s office within the next 60 to 90 days. Meanwhile, Crump demands that the BCSO release all footage, including the other patrol vehicle’s dashcam vehicle and neighborhood surveillance.
“We urge anyone with additional video surveillance, including neighbors with home surveillance cams, to come forward so that we can have a clearer picture of the facts in this case,” Crump wrote.
[Screengrab via Brevard County Sheriff’s Office]
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