ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — The Orange County Sheriff's Office said they will not release the body camera video showing one of its deputies shooting a man in the back.
Salaythis Melvin, 22, was shot while running away from a deputy outside the Florida Mall.
An online petition has about 3,000 signatures asking for deputies to release the video.
For the community and the man’s family, it is about transparency. And without seeing the video, they question whether the deputy saw the gun in Melvin’s waistband before or after he shot and killed him. They question the officer’s story about feeling threatened, when he said Melvin turned his head toward him while running away.
“What is the point of having body cameras if you’re not going to let people see them?” Melvin’s father Ryan Findley said.
The family’s attorney, Carlus Haynes, said the sheriff, undersheriff and the deputy involved have all reviewed the video and given statements.
“Let this family see their son’s last minutes,” Haynes said.
9 Investigates has also requested the video and the history of the deputy, who is now on paid administrative leave from patrol.
The department cites the ongoing Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation.
FDLE said the decision on when to release public records rests with the local agency, whether or not FDLE is investigating. In this case, they told the sheriff's office they would prefer not to release the videos until initial interviews are complete.
“We’re giving Sheriff Mina an opportunity to put his money where his mouth is, even if there is an exemption, he has a right to say ‘come on down family and watch this,’” Haynes said.
There is at least one protest planned this weekend, and the family attorney has also sent a formal letter to the sheriff outlining why this video should be released.
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