‘Not Full Justice’: Firing Florida Cop Who Killed Roger Fortson Isn’t Nearly Enough, Ben Crump Says

Senior Airman Roger Fortson of the U.S. Air Force

Senior Airman Roger Fortson. | Source: U.S. Air Force

Firing the trigger-happy Florida police officer who shot a young Black Airman in his own home within seconds of seeing him should only be the first step toward achieving any semblance of justice in the tragic case, civil rights attorney Ben Crump said hours after the termination was announced.

Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Deputy Eddie Duran — who was only identified on Friday — finally lost his job four weeks to the day after evidence suggests he went to the wrong apartment and ended up killing Roger Fortson, a 23-year-old officer in the U.S. Air Force.

MORE: Roger Fortson’s Police Killing And The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office’s History Of Brutality, Recklessness And Crime

It apparently took an entire month for the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office to determine that the May 3 shooting death of Fortson violated department policy.

“The objective facts do not support the use of deadly force as an appropriate response to Mr. Fortson’s actions,” Okaloosa County Sheriff Eric Aden said Friday.

But those same “objective facts” also demonstrate that Duran violated the law, Crump suggested in a statement.

“The firing of the officer who shot and killed Roger Fortson is a step forward, but it is not full justice for Roger and his family,” Crump said. “The actions of this deputy were not just negligent, they were criminal. As we’ve stated from the beginning, and as echoed today by Sheriff Aden, Roger was an exceptional airman who did absolutely nothing to warrant being gunned down in his own home.”

Crump referenced previous cases he’s handled where police officers shot and killed innocent Black people where they lived.

“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,” Crump said.

Roger Fortson press conference May 16, 2024

Ben Crump holds a press conference with Roger Fortson’s family at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Stonecrest, Georgia, on May 16, 2024. | Source: YouTube screenshot

What happened to Roger Fortson?

Fortson was shot in his own apartment on May 3 within seconds of opening his front door after an Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Deputy Duran responded aggressively to a report of a domestic “disturbance” that a witness claims never existed at that location.

Less than a week after Fortson was killed, the initial shooting narrative provided by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office had been undermined by that witness – Fortson’s girlfriend – who said the police responded to the wrong apartment.

Bodycam video footage shows the deputy banging loudly on an apartment door. When Fortson – possibly suspecting an intruder – answered the door while brandishing a legally owned gun that was facing down, Duran immediately opened fire and shot the young Airman six times.

The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office initially claimed Duran fired out of “self defense” and that other cops on the scene rendered medical aid, but Fortson’s girlfriend suggested otherwise and shared video footage proving it, attorneys said. The footage is from a FaceTime call she and Fortson were having when he was shot.
Fortson’s family suggested in a statement after watching the bodycam video of the shooting that the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office was not being entirely truthful.

Fortson’s family has said they are “adamant that the police had the wrong apartment as Roger was on the phone with his girlfriend for a substantial amount of time leading up to the shooting, and no one else was in the apartment.”

At a subsequent press conference, Crump pointed to the police bodycam video footage and its transcript, in particular, to provide evidence that 1) Fortson’s finger was not on his gun’s trigger when he answered the door; 2) the police were told before knocking on Fortson’s door that there was a female inside; and 3) a police dispatcher told the deputy that the information they had about the reported domestic disturbance may not be that reliable.

Fortson’s body was later delivered to his family via a dignified transfer at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in preparation for a funeral on May 17 in Stonecrest, Georgia.

The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office is the same police department that employed a cop who in November infamously shot at but did not kill an unarmed and handcuffed Black man after mistaking the sound of a falling acorn for a gunshot.

In that instance — which arguably got more news coverage than Fortson’s death — the officer had the privilege of resigning instead of being fired like Duran was.

This is America.


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The post ‘Not Full Justice’: Firing Florida Cop Who Killed Roger Fortson Isn’t Nearly Enough, Ben Crump Says appeared first on NewsOne.

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