The family of Latasha Walton demanded justice for the mother of two children who was gunned down last week by a Florida Highway Patrol trooper during a traffic stop in Miami.
Walton’s family hired civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who announced on Tuesday that he wrote to U.S. Attorney General William Barr in hopes of getting the Department of Justice to oversee the case and to launch a federal investigation into the killing, NBC News Miami reported.
“The video of this shooting has sent shock waves across the nation. All parties concerned here seek one thing and one thing only—a full, fair and complete investigation by the Department of Justice — nothing less will do,” he said.
Crump, who has been involved in several high-profile police shooting cases, including Stephon Clark in Sacramento, held a press conference Tuesday with members of the family.
“We have become tragically accustomed to the police using excessive force, abusing and brutalizing young Black men—but now it is becoming alarmingly clear that the police officers [are] engaging in the same pattern of excessive force against our Black women,” he tweeted.
Here’s a video clip of comments from family members at the press conference.
A cellphone video that went viral shows trooper Ronald Melendez-Bonilla shooting six times toward Walton’s white BMW during the March 12 traffic stop near the Golden Glades interchange in Northwest Miami-Dade. Authorities said she had been driving erratically before she was pulled over.
Alphonso Wright Jr., brother of the Pompano Beach woman, said that being with her children is the only thing that helps to get him through this time of mourning. “I can’t really sleep. It’s so hard, taking a hold of me, you know, but I got faith,” he said.
Wright described his sister as having “a heart of gold.”
The Miami-Dade police union defended the shooting as an act of self-defense because the officer allegedly feared for his life.
“It’s one thing if he’s going to justify the first bullet but then how do you justify the second and then the third and then the fourth and then the fifth and then the sixth?” asked attorney Sue Ann Robinson, who is also representing the family.
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