ORLANDO, Fla. — Protesters are demanding justice for Salaythis Melvin after an Orange County fatally deputy shot him in the back outside of The Florida Mall earlier this month.
The investigators were looking for a different man at the time.
Some of Melvin’s family members attended a protest at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday.
His cousin gave an impassioned speech before they moved to a corner to protest.
They wanted to take advantage of the thousands of cars that drive through this busy intersection to raise awareness of what happened to Melvin.
People held signs with messages such as “running doesn’t equal a death sentence.”
They are frustrated by the response from the sheriff's office. Officials said Melvin was told to stop running, then turned his head toward the deputy with his hand on a gun in his waistband.
The sheriff’s office also said that the deputy who fired his weapon wasn’t issued a body camera. Video captured from another deputy’s device doesn’t clearly show what happened.
Only a few seconds of the video from the other deputy’s camera shows Melvin running before he is shot.
Melvin's family said that the lack of clear answers makes them suspicious and angry.
“We’re not here to stop traffic. These people haven’t done anything to us. We’re here to make awareness,” said Sixx Jones, Melvin’s cousin. “Most of the people driving had no idea what happened at The Florida Mall and we want justice for the police officer who killed him.”
The sheriff said the video wasn't immediately released because of an ongoing investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
The family questions whether FDLE is independent enough to do a thorough investigation.
After the inquiry, Sheriff John Mina said the state attorney will determine if criminal charges are merited, then he will consider if policies were violated and what, if any, disciplinary measures should be taken.
The sheriff’s office said the deputy who shot Melvin, a member of the juvenile arrest and monitor unit, is on paid administrative leave.
The Florida Mall closed at 1 p.m. Friday after reports there could be looting.
No looting occurred but the sheriff's office shut down roads for protesters.
Deputies said several people were arrested as they responded to the demonstrations.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office also released a statement Saturday denying claims on social media that deputies used rubber bullets and chemical agents during Friday’s protest.
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