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Florida sheriff releases bodycam video of pilot fatally shot by deputy



Florida sheriff releases bodycam video of pilot fatally shot by deputy

Florida sheriffs released body camera Footage Thursday showed a sheriff’s deputy fatally shooting Roger Fortson, an active-duty black airman, in his own apartment.

Fortson, 23, was shot six times and killed May 3 by an unnamed Okaloosa County sheriff’s deputy. Lawyers for Fortson’s family, including civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, had argued that the deputy who shot Fortson was sent to the wrong apartment. But at Thursday’s press conference, Okaloosa County Sheriff Eric Aden called those claims false.

The Okaloosa Sheriff’s Department said a deputy arrived at Fortson’s apartment complex after a disturbance call. In the body camera footage, a resident walking with the deputy says she heard loud noises and arguments coming from Fortson’s apartment, and it seemed like they were “getting out of control.” She gives him Fortson’s unit number.

After getting out of an elevator, the deputy knocks repeatedly on the door of Fortson’s apartment, but receives no audible response. He then declares that he is with the sheriff’s department and demands that Fortson open the door.

Crump said a statement Wednesday that Fortson had been on a video call with his girlfriend at the time. After the deputy knocked, she heard him ask, “Who’s there?” according to Crump. Fortson then grabbed his gun out of concern for his safety as he was alone in his apartment at the time, attorneys said.

After Fortson opens the door, the deputy yells at him to “stand back,” then immediately shoots. After shooting Fortson repeatedly, he fired tells Fortson to “drop the gun” several times. Fortson, already on the ground, responds, “It’s over there.”

Aden did not answer questions after showing images at the press conference. “We are proud of our commitment to transparency and accountability,” Aden told reporters.

Crump’s office criticized the deputy’s behavior in the video, noting that he fired first before telling Fortson to put the gun down.

“In the four and a half minute, heavily redacted video, it is disturbing that the deputy gave no verbal commands and fired multiple times within a split second of the door being opened, killing Roger,” a statement said of Crump Thursday. .

“Was the officer trained to give verbal warnings? Did the officer attempt life-saving measures?” Crump added. “Was the officer trained in dealing with law-abiding citizens who are registered gun owners?”

In a first statement on May 7, The sheriff’s office described Fortson as an “armed individual” and claimed the deputy acted in “self-defense” during the shooting. Aden said Thursday that the deputy involved has been placed on administrative leave pending an ongoing investigation involving the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Earlier on Thursday, Crump stood by Chantemekki Fortson, Roger’s mother, as she addressed reporters. She held a framed photo of Roger in uniform in her arms as tears rolled down her cheeks.

“Roger Fortson was the best America had to offer. He was a patriot,” Crump told reporters during Thursday’s news conference. “He fought for our way of life. He fought for everyone.”

Chantemekki Fortson said Thursday that her son was part of the special missions and aviation unit and was stationed at nearby Hubert Field.

“He was carefully chosen. His colonels all contacted me and told me he was such a special young man,” she said told reporters. “Even when I got sick and he wanted to go home, they told him no because he was so smart and so intelligent.”

“They don’t know what they took from me,” she added, as family members hugged her.