Dashcam video depicting what led up to two Black teens being fatally shot by two Florida deputies last Friday has been released.
According to CBS News, the video was posted to Facebook by the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office along with a lengthy description of what occurs in the video. The sheriff’s office said that Deputies Jafet Santiago-Miranda and Carson Hendren were doing an investigation on a reported stolen vehicle, and were tailing the car that victims A.J. Crooms, 16, and Sincere Pierce, 18, were driving through a suburban neighborhood in Cocoa, Fla.
After the car pulls into a driveway, the deputies exit separate squad cars with their guns drawn. Santiago-Miranda can be heard repeatedly saying, “stop the vehicle” as the car pulls out from the driveway. The vehicle stops and then begins to slowly move in the direction of Santiago-Miranda, which leads to the deputy firing eight shots into the windshield, killing Crooms and Pierce.
In the Facebook post containing the video, Sheriff Wayne Ivey says that Santiago-Mirando “was then forced to fire his service weapon in an attempt to stop the deadly threat of the car from crashing into him.”
Attorney Benjamin Crump is representing both families and has called for all recordings of the incident to be made public. “It is painfully troubling to us that this teen driver and the teen backseat passenger were terrified and drove around deputies who approached the vehicle with guns drawn. Believe your own eyes,” Crump said in a statement according to Click Orlando. “The video shows the deputy was still shooting as the car cleared him and posed no threat.”
Both Santiago-Miranda and Hendren were put on paid administrative leave as the case is being investigated. The sheriff’s office is currently investigating whether the vehicle the teens were driving in was indeed the stolen vehicle they were looking for.
According to CNN, the state attorney’s office released a statement expressing its “sincere condolences to the family and friends of these two young men as they struggle to deal with this painful tragedy. We understand and share their desire to know what took place, and that every aspect of this incident will be carefully reviewed.”
The statement went on to say that the state attorney’s office will “determine whether a criminal violation of Florida law has occurred, whether any person may be held criminally responsible, and whether such criminal responsibility can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.”
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) released a statement announcing it is currently investigating the shooting. “We continue to conduct interviews and hope to be finished with the initial interviews soon,” the FDLE’s statement read. “Once we have completed our investigative reports, we provide that information to the state attorney’s office and they determine whether or not charges will be filed. FDLE’s investigation is limited to the officer’s use of force.”
Ivey wrote in the Facebook post that the FDLE’s findings could be sent to the state attorney’s office within the next 60-90 days.
A vigil for both of the teens took place in Cocoa on Wednesday night. The families of both teens were in attendance and expressed the shock and outrage they continue to feel as a result of the shooting.
Qausheda Pierce, Pierce’s mother, told Click Orlando she’s “looking for a little closure,” and wants “some answers.”
“I was angry about it, I was angry because I miss him,” Crooms’ mother Tasha Strachan told Click Orlando. “I want answers to why that was done, it didn’t have to be done like that.”
Charity Baxter, Crooms’ cousin, told the news outlet that she can only imagine the fear her cousin must have felt in his final moment.
“When you did approach him, why was the first thing to shoot?” Baxter said.