Cedric Bartee (pictured) was shot and critically wounded by an Orlando, Florida sheriff’s deputy, even though witnesses say that he had his hands raised. Bartee, an unarmed suspect in a car theft, was hit at an apartment complex where the incident took place, reports WESH 2.
Bartee and his passenger Henry Lee Chaney, both black men in their late-twenties, were being tailed by sheriff’s deputies who received a call about a stolen car taken from a nearby gas station. Bartee pulled his vehicle into an apartment complex and met the deputies who ordered the men to exit their vehicles with their hands up. Chaney exited the car but Bartee did not. Deputies stated that Bartee was making “suspicious” moves inside the vehicle.
Sgt. Robert McCarthy, a white seven-year veteran with the force and one of the deputies at the scene claims he felt compelled to shoot inside the vehicle because he feared for his life.
Three bullets were fired into the vehicle, one struck Bartee. Witnesses allege the car did not have tinted glass, so deputies could see that the young man had his hands up when McCarthy fired his gun.
Ernest Miles Jr., who was at the scene of the shooting told WESH 2, “They kept telling the boys to put their hands up. Their hands were already up. There was no tint on the car, so you could see in the car and the police just kept saying, ‘Put your hands up.’ Before you know it, they shot three times in the car.”
Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings, however, told the station that there are conflicting details about the shooting requiring further investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the State Attorney’s office. Demings is calling for calm, particularly amidst all of the protests against police violence across the country. He cautions the public to not place blame on anyone until all of the facts have been examined by investigators. “I ask everyone to not rush to judgement until the investigation is completed,” he told WESH 2.
Both Bartee and Chaney have been arrested multiple times. Chaney was not injured and Bartee is listed in critical condition at an Orlando hospital.
McCarthy, who has never been involved in a shooting before will reportedly be placed on administrative leave for at least one week as the shooting is investigated.