Florida Rep Who Shot US Airman Roger Fortson Fired: NPR

Chantemekki Fortson, mother of Roger Fortson, a senior U.S. Air Force airman, holds a photo of her son.

Michael A. McCoy

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Michael A. McCoy

Chantemekki Fortson, mother of Roger Fortson, a senior U.S. Air Force airman, holds a photo of her son.

Chantemekki Fortson, mother of Roger Fortson, a senior U.S. Air Force airman, holds a photo of her son.

Michael A. McCoy

The Florida deputy who fatally shot 23-year-old Roger Fortson in his home earlier this month has been fired.

In a news release Friday, the Okaloosa County, Florida, Sheriff’s Department said Deputy Eddie Duran was fired following the completion of an internal administrative affairs investigation amid Fortson’s death, which concluded that Duran’s use of deadly force was not “objectively reasonable” and therefore violated agency policy.

The sheriff’s office said it was “limited in scope” to determine whether Duran violated agency policy.

“This tragic incident should never have happened,” Okaloosa County Sheriff Eric Aden said in the release. “The objective facts do not support the use of deadly force as an appropriate response to Mr. Fortson’s actions. Mr. Fortson did not commit any crime. By all accounts, he was an exceptional aviator and individual.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is one of several attorneys representing Fortson’s family, said in a statement Friday that while Duran’s firing is a “step forward,” it does not constitute justice. total for Fortson and his family.

“This deputy’s actions were not only negligent, they were criminal,” Crump said.

“Just as we did for Botham Jean, Atatiana Jefferson and Breonna Taylor, we will continue to fight for full justice and for Roger Fortson, and all the other innocent black men and women gunned down by law enforcement. order in the presumed safety of their own home,” he added.

Fortson was shot and killed May 3 during an incident involving the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office. According to authorities, the sheriff’s office sent officers to Fortson’s apartment in response to a disturbance call.

Fortson was alone in his apartment FaceTiming with his girlfriend when the deputy approached his door, according to his family’s attorneys.

In body camera footage of the incident, a deputy is seen knocking on the door and introducing himself as law enforcement. Fortson then appears while holding a gun pointed at the ground. The deputy, who was later identified as Duran, immediately fired multiple shots. Fortson later died at the hospital.

Aden, after the shooting, said Duran reacted in self-defense after encountering an “armed man.” Duran was then placed on paid administrative leave, standard Sheriff’s Department protocol following an investigation and administrative review.

In a recording released by Crump at a May 16 news conference, a police dispatch officer is heard saying that the disturbance involved “a man and a woman,” information he said came via a fourth person from the reception of the apartment complex.

“When you make a mistake, you own it,” Crump told reporters. “You’re not trying to justify killing a good guy. The Okaloosa Sheriff’s Department needs to admit it. Tell the truth.”

In an interview with NPR, Fortson’s mother, Chantimekki Fortson, and Brian Barr, another family attorney, questioned the deputy’s training as they demanded more transparency around the case.

“He served his family, he served the country, he served his friends,” Barr said. “And it’s such a tragedy, from every angle, that – living this life of service doing what he was told to do – he was killed because he opened the door.”

Chantimekki told NPR that her son’s death deeply affected her family in many ways — including, she said, the way her nieces and nephews now reacted to the presence of police.

“When my grandchildren see the police, they literally start vomiting,” she said. “I’ve taught them to respect the police because of the chaos that’s going on and the fact that they’re sick to their stomachs, it’s crazy.”

An investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement remains ongoing. The State Attorney’s Office will determine whether further action is taken.

NPR’s Emma Bowman contributed to this report.

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