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Florida

Grand jury chooses not to indict former Orlando officer involved in the shooting death of an unarmed 26-year-old man

A former Orlando police officer, Jose Velez, will not face charges in the shooting death of 26-year-old Derek Diaz last July, as determined by an Orange County, Florida, grand jury.

State Attorney Andrew Bain announced on Monday that the grand jury, after reviewing all pertinent evidence, did not find legal grounds to indict Officer Velez in connection with Diaz’s fatal shooting.

The decision comes after months of uncertainty and calls for justice from Diaz’s family and the community. The incident occurred around 2 a.m. in downtown Orlando on July 3, when Diaz was shot by an officer.

Body camera footage released by the Orlando Police Department depicted Diaz being shot shortly after an officer approached the vehicle where he was seated. Despite compliance from Diaz, the situation escalated, leading to the fatal shot fired by the officer.

Police stated that after the shooting, Diaz discarded an object later identified as narcotics. However, no weapon was found in the car during the investigation.

Following the incident, Diaz was transported to the hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

Orlando Police Chief Eric Smith stated that the officers were conducting proactive patrol in response to criminal activity in the downtown area, suspecting Diaz of involvement in drug-related activity.

Community activist Gelzer expressed sympathy for Diaz’s family, criticizing the officer’s swift decision that resulted in the loss of life.

Officer Velez was initially placed on paid administrative leave following the shooting and later resigned from the department in November for reasons unrelated to the incident.

The Orlando Police Department’s Internal Affairs Unit will conduct a review of the case, with Chief Smith expressing support for the grand jury’s decision.

The case, investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, was presented to the grand jury as per state protocol for cases involving deadly force by law enforcement. With the grand jury’s decision, the case has been officially closed by the state attorney’s office.

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