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Volusia County sheriff: On-duty deputy who uses deadly force not a ‘victim’ under Marsy’s Law

VOLUISA COUNTY, Fla. — A deputy who uses deadly force while performing official duties should never be categorized as a victim under Marsy’s Law, the Volusia County Sheriff told the Florida Supreme Court.

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Marsy’s Law, which passed in 2018, protects the name of victims of crimes in Florida. Last year, a court ruled the identities of police officers can also be protected.

But Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood doesn’t agree. He filed a brief with the Florida Supreme Court just days before a deadly shooting inolving an officer in Winter Park last month.

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The police department still has not identified the officers involved.

Chitwood said he doesn’t believe in keeping details, good or bad, from the public.

“That doesn’t go to police legitimacy, and it doesn’t go to transparency,” he said. “That’s why you see a mistrust of police.”

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Chitwood releases names and body camera video within 48 hours. He said he feels so strongly about transparency that he has not stepped into a legal case between the Police Benevolent Association and the City of Tallahassee that could set precedent.

He filed the brief asking the court find that a law enforcement officer who uses deadly force not be allowed to be a victim under Marsy’s Law.

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Other agencies such as the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office are standing behind the Police Benevolent Association in support, saying police are in danger after their names are released.

There is no word yet when the Florida Supreme Court will make a decision.

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Shannon Butler

Shannon Butler, WFTV.com

Shannon joined the Eyewitness News team in 2013.

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.

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