The family of a slain Florida man killed by a police deputy raised questions about the lethal brute force used in a fatal shooting Wednesday.
An investigation is underway after body camera and security footage showed the last moments before Jean Pedro Pierre, 42, of Lauderdale Lakes, Florida, was killed by a Broward County Sheriff’s Office deputy at an apartment complex last week, CBS Miami reported. Pierre, who is Black, had a physical confrontation with a deputy who responded to a disturbance. The man had a history of medical problems, including mental illness, that was unknown to cops during the struggle that ended in his death when a second deputy arrived and fired fatal shots, his daughter, Shania, said.
“I know my dad didn’t mean it,” she told CBS4’s Carey Codd. “He didn’t mean it at all. My dad, he had a mental health issue that nobody knew about and I wish the police knew about it before killing him.”
The struggle began after Pierre confronted the deputy Sean Youngward who entered an apartment on the property, the video revealed. Pierre and the officer exchanged words inside the apartment before a violent fight ensued between them that moved to the complex’s courtyard. A taser was used by the deputy to subdue Pierre, to no avail. A second deputy, Steven Briggs arrived on the scene to break up the confrontation and told Pierre to put his “hands up” and “get down.” Pierre didn’t respond to the second deputy’s commands and acted aggressively in pursuing the first deputy, according to video footage. The struggle ended with the second deputy firing off three shots at Pierre, who fell to the ground in the parking lot at the Sunset Hills condominium.
Footage of the fight turned deadly was released in an effort to quell “rumors and dispel speculation about the shooting on social media and to give an unvarnished view of what happened,” Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said Friday. The deputy who fired the fatal bullets “could not allow himself to get into a struggle over his weapon,” Israel also said. Both deputies have been placed on administrative leave per department policy, according to the Miami Herald.
Pierre’s family believes the cops’ video footage misrepresents the man, who was a father of five, an entrepreneur and former political candidate in Haiti. They commended the first deputy for showing restraint in dealing with Pierre. However, they wish that the deputy who killed Pierre would have tried alternative methods to subdue him, not resorting to excessively lethal force. Avoiding brute force would have prevented the tragedy and kept Pierre alive, they said.
“They didn’t have to kill him at all,” Ralph Fenelon, Pierre’s son. “They had tasers, they had other weapons. They didn’t have to shoot him.”