“Unarmed Derek Diaz Fatally Shot by Orlando Police: Body Camera Footage Released”

By | July 12, 2023

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The Orlando Police Department has released body camera footage showing the fatal shooting of 26-year-old Derek Diaz in downtown Orlando on July 3. The release of the footage comes after Diaz’s family, along with civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, called for the full video of the shooting to be made public. The only information the family had received prior to the release of the footage was from a press conference held by Orlando Chief Eric Smith shortly after Diaz’s death.

The footage begins with three officers on bicycles approaching Diaz’s parked car. The officer who shot Diaz, Jose Velez, is seen standing on the driver’s side of the vehicle, instructing Diaz to turn off the car. Diaz hands Velez two objects wrapped in tinfoil, the contents of which are unclear. Another officer opens the driver’s side door, and Diaz appears to reach towards the center console. Velez then shoots Diaz. It is unclear how many shots were fired, but Chief Smith stated that no gun was found in the car.

The footage also shows a small item being thrown from the driver’s side window just before the shooting. According to the police department, this object was later identified as narcotics. After the shooting, it takes about 30 seconds before officers begin rendering first aid. Diaz, who was shot in the back, died less than two hours later in the hospital.

Officer Velez has been placed on paid administrative leave, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has been asked to investigate the officer’s use of deadly force. The Orlando Police Department will also conduct its own internal investigation.

The release of the body camera footage has left Diaz’s family with many unanswered questions. They were only able to view the footage once, and the police captain showing them the video could not answer their questions. The family is upset that their questions about the number of shots fired, the drugs found in the car, and the reason for Diaz’s initial stop have not been answered.

The release of the footage is an important step towards transparency and accountability in this case. It is crucial that a thorough investigation is conducted to determine the circumstances surrounding Diaz’s death and whether the use of deadly force was justified..

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