110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
Fatal chase started with seat-belt violation
By Pat Andrews
posted May 31, 2013 - 6:46:03pm
DeLand Police Chief Bill Ridgway has fired the police officer who hit and killed Marlon Brown May 8.
Officer James Harris, 25, who was still on probation as a new officer, was driving the patrol car that hit and then ran over Brown. Harris and another DeLand officer were pursuing Brown after a Volusia County sheriff’s deputy reported Brown had failed to stop for a seat-belt violation.
After Brown and the officers drove off the road and onto a vacant lot, Brown got out of his car, and Harris ran him over.
The incident outraged many in DeLand’s African-American community, who said at a May 13 community meeting that the death was another instance of unjustified police heavy-handedness in the African-American community.
Ridgway’s terse announcement May 31 stated, “This is a regrettable and tragic situation for everyone involved. This decision was made in the best interests of the community, the city and the department.”
Ridgway noted the Florida Highway Patrol is still actively investigating the incident, and said he could not comment further.
“Based on the totality of the circumstances and facts that I continually learned through the process of the investigation, I have now reached a threshold of knowledge where I feel compelled to take immediate action,” Ridgway said.
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