OPD releases bodycam footage of officer shooting unarmed Orlando man
The family of an unarmed man fatally shot by an Orlando Police Department officer says they still have questions about what happened, even after the department released bodycam footage of the interaction.
On July 3, three officers approached 26-year-old Derek Diaz while he was illegally parked on Orange Avenue. and Jefferson Street.
Bodycam footage shows an officer grabbing marijuana out of Diaz’s hand and telling him to keep his hands on the wheel. Diaz cooperates but is then seen moving his hand to the center console, grabbing and throwing an object out the window. Then, an officer fired his weapon.
(1/3) Today, in full transparency & accordance with department policy, the Orlando Police Department is releasing body worn camera video of the officer-involved shooting that occurred on 7/3, in the area of Jefferson St. & North Orange Ave., resulting in the death of Derek Diaz. pic.twitter.com/3pjI1vjJZ3— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) July 12, 2023
The interaction was 31 seconds long.
It is unclear in the video what Diaz is throwing, but OPD described it as "narcotics."
Diaz's family was shown the bodycam footage Wednesday shortly before OPD made it public. Diaz's family feels they're not getting the full picture of what happened that night. Attorney Natalie Jackson represents Diaz’s family and said the family deserves more answers about why officers approached Diaz.
“If the reason was, as we believe, maybe the smell of marijuana, then why? Why would a death sentence be imposed for that?” she said.
The mother of Diaz's 5-year-old daughter, Sonja Nava, spoke out at a press conference Wednesday in front of the Orange County Court House.
“We were told that they weren't going to answer any questions and that they wouldn't let us rewatch (the video),” Nava said. "The video was so sickening to watch I threw up while watching it."
Nava also said she's had to tell her daughter, Yanaliz, what's happened to her father.
"I did tell her yesterday that he did pass away and she was upset. She did cry, but she's five years old. I think she's taking it a little bit better than the adults," Nava said. "It's still really hard for her to understand though."
Nava said she and Yanaliz will be seeking counseling.
In a statement, OPD Chief Eric Smith says police have observed 431 incidents involving drugs and guns in the last 18 months at the intersection where Diaz was shot. Smith also expressed condolences for Diaz’s family.
However, Diaz’s family says Smith had not directly reached out to them.
An investigation into the case by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is ongoing.