OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — Surveillance video from the night of an officer-involved shooting at a Target in Kissimmee in April of last year shows what happened before 20-year-old Jayden Baez was shot and killed and three other men with him, Ian Joi, Joseph Lowe, and Michael Gomez were injured.
The group is accused of stealing Pokémon cards and a pizza from the store.
According to reports, a Target employee who noticed the robbery notified deputies who were doing training exercises outside.
The attorney representing the victims, Mark NeJame, says instead of arresting the group, the deputies used them for “training purposes.”
“They decided to go ahead and use them as human Guinea pigs,” NeJame said.
NeJame said when the group tried to get away, deputies in unmarked cars blocked them in and then opened fire.
NeJame has filed a federal lawsuit against Sheriff Marco Lopez and the deputies involved.
“We believe that the policies, procedures, and protocols of Sheriff Marcos Lopez as it relates to the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office are reckless; we believe they’re unconstitutional. We believe that they’re wrong, and they need to be called to task for it,” NeJame said.
We reached out to the sheriff’s office for comment. They sent us a statement saying in part: “Shortly after the incident, it was announced the individuals who damaged several police cars, caused injury to one deputy, and placed several other deputies in fear for their lives would be suing the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office. This announcement is not unexpected. We look forward to the facts being told in a court of law."
In previous press conferences, Lopez has said Baez, who was driving the car, rammed into sheriff’s office vehicles while trying to get away, causing damages and injuries.
He said deputies wearing vests with clear sheriff’s office lettering on them warned the group to stop before the shooting.
“If a determination is made that they didn’t do anything wrong, then so be it, but if a determination is made that there was something wrong, which by any indicator we think there was, we need to address those issues,” NeJame said.
A grand jury will be deciding whether the deputies will be charged.
The move to have a grand jury involved is part of a new policy announced by State Attorney Andrew Bain.
NeJame has also filed a lawsuit against Target in this case.
Source: WESH 2