Grand Jury Declines to Indict Former Orlando Officer in Great Fatal Shooting of Unarmed Man

By Apr 9, 2024

Grand Jury Declines to Indict Former

Grand-State Attorney Andrew Bain announced on Monday that, following a thorough review of all pertinent evidence, the grand jury determined that charges against former officer Velez were not legally warranted.


Grand-The decision has left lingering questions and stirred advocacy efforts from both loved ones and members of the community.

“The community is in pain,” remarked Lawanna Gelzer, an activist from Orlando, in an interview with CNN. “We cannot have officers think it’s OK to be judge, jury, and executioner.”

The incident occurred around 2 a.m. on July 3 in downtown Orlando.

Footage from body cameras, released by the Orlando Police Department last year, depicted Diaz being shot within a minute of an officer approaching him.

The video shows an officer walking towards the driver’s side of the car where Diaz was seated. Following a brief exchange, during which Diaz appears to be compliant, the officer instructs him to place his hands on the steering wheel. Subsequently, Diaz reaches towards the vehicle’s center console with his right hand before the officer fires what sounds like a single gunshot.

In a statement accompanying the body camera footage, the police reported that Diaz had discarded an object out of the window after being shot, later identified as narcotics.

During their investigation, officers found no firearm or other weapon in Diaz’s car, according to the police department.

Diaz was transported to the hospital shortly after the encounter, where he succumbed to his injuries.

At a press conference following the shooting, Orlando Police Chief Eric Smith stated that three officers were conducting a “proactive patrol” in response to the downtown area being a “hotspot for criminal activity” at the time of the incident.

“Probable cause was developed that the suspected driver was involved in drug activity,” Smith added.

Velez was initially placed on paid administrative leave following the shooting. He later resigned from the department in November, with the police stating that his resignation was unrelated to the incident.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement conducted an investigation into the fatal incident and subsequently handed the case over to the state attorney’s office. According to the state attorney’s news release, all Florida cases involving deadly use of force by law enforcement must be presented to a grand jury to determine the appropriateness of criminal charges.

Following the grand jury’s decision on Monday, the case was officially closed by the state attorney’s office.

CNN made attempts to contact Velez and reached out to an attorney representing Diaz’s family for comment regarding the recent decision of the grand jury.

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