What’s going on in Florida?

If you haven’t heard about the case of Marlon Brown, then you will likely hear about it before too long.  On May 8th of this year, Brown died after being run over by a DeLand police officer, James Harris, during a chase that began as a seat belt violation.  Officer Harris, who was a rookie officer at the time, was fired on May 31st after DeLand Police Chief William Ridgway had a chance to view the video from the incident for himself.

Since that time, the case was sent before a grand jury for possible criminal charges.  As one would expect from the State of Florida, the grand jury decided that the former police officer should not face any criminal charges.

One interesting thing about this case is that the medical examination report that was filed in this case stated that Mr. Brown did not get hit by the car but was run over after slipping and falling.  I have not seen the report or know if it’s been entered as evidence, but the person who filed the report is the same medical examiner who testified in the Trayvon Martin case.

Here’s the dashcam video from Officer Harris’ vehicle that recorded the entire incident.  A word of warning beforehand, the video is graphic in nature.  It is not edited nor does it stop prior to Mr. Brown being run over.

I can’t answer for anybody other than me, but in seeing that video, I could not determine whether Mr. Brown was on the ground or if he was laying against the fence when he was struck.  If he were laying on the ground, you should not have been able to see his head, but you can actually see him staring right into the headlights just before he was struck.

I know there are cases of justifiable homicide that don’t get prosecuted.  I can understand having to kill someone in order to save yourself or others around you.  What I don’t understand is how someone cannot face criminal charges for running a person over in a vehicle.  It’s not like you’re facing an armed perpetrator who’s shooting up a public space full of people.

Mr. Brown never had a chance once he slipped up.  Maybe it was just me, but I could hear what sounded like the engine revving up a bit as he started to turn the corner right before he fell.  There was likely a great deal of adrenaline involved in this incident as most any police officer will own up to entering a heightened state during stressful situations such as a car chase.  I won’t pass judgement on the innocence or guilt of Harris, but this incident will likely become headline news before too long.  It seems like Florida is having more than its fair share of people getting killed without the killer having to face criminal charges.  I don’t have any plans to travel to Florida anytime soon, but if I did, I would probably try to cancel them out of an abundance of caution.


4 thoughts on “What’s going on in Florida?

    • Had some formatting issues because of the video. Had to switch it out, so you should be able to read it ok now if you couldn’t before.

      I read about this case earlier, and I’m glad the family is asking more questions. I’ve had my run-in with a grand jury that refused to charge someone for killing a family member of mine. I don’t wish that kind of pain on anybody else, so I understand what this family is going through.


  1. Police chases ought to be stopped anyway. Far too many of them end up killing bystanders. The adrenaline gets going and the officers lose any kind of self-control.

    And this one was about not wearing a seatbelt. I’ve long known that the message in the seatbelt campaign is right; seatbelts do save lives. I just didn’t realize they saved lives in the sense that the police would kill you if you didn’t buckle up!


    • I didn’t write it above, but I think the stress and adrenaline involved in a chase was a contributing factor to the incident. There is a lot of training and re-training that goes into these policies, but it’s hard to replicate the stress and such of an actual event during a training exercise.

      I never thought about looking at seatbelt laws in that manner though. That’s really something to think about although I’m hoping this proves to be an extremely isolated case.


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