Ben Crump and family demand Orlando police release body camera video of unarmed man shot and killed

Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump and the family of Derek Diaz, an unarmed man who was fatally shot by an Orlando police officer on Monday, demanded that the department release body camera footage of the incident during a a press conference on Saturday morning.

“[The family] has a burning question: What happened to Derek Diaz? Crump said, standing next to Diaz’s family members, who held signs that read “Justice for Derek Diaz” under a photo of the 26-year-old father. “They want the truth. They have the right to know the truth. We are calling here for transparency.

So far, the only information about the shooting comes from a brief statement by Orlando Police Chief Eric Smith at a press conference less than three hours after it happened Monday morning.

Smith said around 1:52 a.m. Diaz was arrested by an officer in the heart of downtown, a few blocks west of Lake Eola Park. At the time, officers were proactively patrolling downtown Jefferson Street and North Orange Avenue, which Smith called “a hotspot for criminal activity where we have seized numerous weapons over the past few months.” .

Smith said the officer had reason to believe Diaz was “involved in drug-related activity” – the probable cause used to justify the stoppage. It is unclear, however, what gave the police this impression. The chief said drugs were recovered, but it was not clear who the drugs belonged to.

The chief said during the stoppage that Diaz “disobeyed orders given by the officer and made a move as if to retrieve a gun.”

That’s when the cop shot him.

Diaz was taken to hospital and pronounced dead less than two hours later.

Smith said no weapons were found at the scene.

OPD in the days following the shooting did not provide an update on whether it remains the case that no weapon was found in Diaz’s car. The department referred all questions about the incident to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), which is investigating the officer’s use of lethal force at the request of the OPD.

“Officers are conducting interviews with officers and witnesses, and our medical examiners are processing the evidence,” FDLE spokeswoman Dana Kelly said in an email to the Orlando Sentinel on Friday. “The investigation is active and we have no additional information to share at this time.”

According to the FDLE website, the agency “routinely does not comment on a specific case or provide names associated with the investigation…Local agencies are able to provide information at their discretion.”

In a statement to the Sentinel, OPD spokesperson Andrea Otero said Friday that the city’s police department was not providing further details about the case in an effort to maintain the integrity of the investigation. She said body camera footage will be released within 30 days of the incident, in accordance with OPD policy.

“We are committed to being transparent with our community and assure you that our commitment has not changed,” Otero said. “Once the body-worn camera can be released, we will share it with the community.”

Crump, who announced on Wednesday that he is representing the family, questioned the police department’s motives in waiting to release the video or share it privately with the family before making it public.

“It’s for transparency…that’s what it’s all about, everyone being able to see what happened so we can determine whether or not the police were justified in taking a human life,” said Crump. “It’s infuriating when we look at families and they say, ‘Why can’t we see what happened to our loved one,’ and come up with arbitrary reasons to delay, delay, delay.”

“Why are we late? ” He continued. “The video will be the same no matter what, so get the video out. It’s not a hard request that this family is asking.

After Crump’s comments, Diaz’s attorney and family sang briefly in English and Spanish: “Play the video. See the video. Broadcast the video. See the video. Broadcast the video.

Diaz had just finished HVAC school when he was fatally shot, Crump said.

Jordan Claxton, 15, said his last words to his older brother, Derek Diaz, were in a text asking him to bring home cookies. It was a few hours before the shooting.

Diaz is also the father of a 5-year-old daughter. Sonja Nava, the mother of Diaz’s only child, said: “My daughter, she keeps asking for her dad and I don’t know what to tell her.”

To help pay for Diaz’s funeral, the family set up a GoFundMe; so far, $8,155 has been raised.

Diaz’s mother, Yaneri Diaz Rodriguez, said she and her family wanted to see the video before her funeral.

“I want to know what happened,” she said. “We have the right not to know.”

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