Florida Deputy Who Killed Black Airman Roger Fortson In His Own Home Fired

Deputy Eddie Duran, the person who shot Roger Fortson, a 23-year-old U.S. Air Force senior Airman has been fired following an investigation into the incident. The investigation concluded that Duran’s discharge of his firearm constituted a violation of departmental policy. 

As NPR reports, on May 31, the Okaloosa County, Fla., Sheriff Department said in a press release that the incident never should have happened. “This tragic incident should have never occurred,” Okaloosa County Sheriff Eric Aden said. “The objective facts do not support the use of deadly force as an appropriate response to Mr. Fortson’s actions. Mr. Fortson did not commit any crime. By all accounts, he was an exceptional airman and individual.”

Benjamin Crump, one of the attorneys representing Fortson’s family, said that while it was a step towards justice, it was not justice for the family. “The actions of this deputy were not just negligent, they were criminal. Just as we did for Botham Jean, Atatiana Jefferson, and Breonna Taylor, we will continue to fight for full justice and accountability for Roger Fortson, as well as every other innocent Black man and woman gunned down by law enforcement in the presumed safety of their own home.”

As BLACK ENTERPRISE previously reported, Fortson was killed by Duran on May 3 shortly after Duran and other officers entered his apartment in response to a complaint over an alleged argument he was having with his girlfriend. Fortson, however, was alone in his apartment when Duran and the officers entered the apartment and shot Fortson six times. Fortson was actually on a FaceTime call with his girlfriend during the incident. He later died at a local hospital.

Crump called for the department to come clean in a May 16 News conference. “When you make a mistake, you own up to it,” Crump told reporters. “You don’t try to justify killing a good guy. The Okaloosa Sheriff’s Department needs to own up to this. Tell the truth.”

Crump told CNN on May 31 that he expects charges to be filed. “While the criminal investigation is still ongoing, we fully anticipate charges to be filed against this officer,” he said. “The video footage provides damning proof that this was a brutal and senseless killing of a young man who was simply enjoying time alone with his dog while video chatting with his girlfriend.”

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is still investigating.

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