110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
State Attorney: No charges against DeLand officer in Marlon Brown death
posted Sep 10, 2013 - 1:51:44pm
UPDATE 3:26 P.M.: State Attorney R.J. Larizza announced today that no criminal charges will be filed against former DeLand police Officer James Harris in connection with the death of 38-year-old DeLand resident Marlon Brown.
Larizza said a two-day grand-jury inquiry ended with no indictment against the 25-year-old officer who was fired by the DeLand Police Department after he and a fellow officer pursued Brown in their cruisers onto a vacant lot, and Harris' car ran Brown over, killing him.
The state attorney could reveal very little about the grand jury's work, because by law that work is secret. He did say, however, that the panel of citizens had considered whether evidence in the case warranted charges of vehicular homicide against Harris, and had decided they were not.
"It was tragic, it was very unfortunate, and it was looked at quite extensively by the law-enforcement agencies charged with doing the investigation, and by our office, to do what we had to do to give it to a grand jury," Larizza said.
He said he asked a grand jury to consider the case, rather than deciding the matter himself, because he wanted as many people from the community as possible to be involved.
"I believe in the grand-jury system," Larizza said.
Watch Krystal Brown's reaction to the state attorney's announcement
Larizza's announcement during a 15-minute news conference in the courtyard of the Volusia County Courthouse sparked immediate reaction from Brown's ex-wife, Krystal Brown, who said the family will move to have videotape from Harris' dashboard camera made public, and will continue to seek criminal charges against Harris.
State law prohibits the release of a videotape showing the death of a person, Larizza said, which would apply to the video from the squad car's dash camera.
Watch all seven videos from the press conference
Read more coverage of the news conference and the Marlon Brown case in the Sept. 12-15 Weekend edition of The Beacon. To subscribe to The Beacon online, click here. For a list of newsstand locations, click here. To have the print edition mailed to your home twice a week, send your address via email to email@example.com.
REPORTED EARLIER: The State Attorney's Office will release information about the Marlon Brown case at 3 p.m. today Tuesday, Sept. 10.
It is unknown what information will be released at that time. The State Attorney's office has been investigating Brown's death, to determine whether criminal charges will be pursued against the police officer who was driving the car that ran over Brown May 8, or against anyone else.
DeLand police Officer James Harris, 25, ran over and killed Brown around 12:30 a.m. May 8. Brown’s death was the culmination of events that started when a sheriff’s deputy tried to stop Brown for a seat-belt violation. Brown didn’t stop, but drove away at 25 mph, according to a Sheriff’s Office report. DeLand officers Harris and Justin Ferrari picked up the pursuit.
According to the FHP preliminary report, the officers followed Brown a couple of short blocks to a dead end and a field on South Delaware Avenue. Ferrari’s police vehicle stopped behind Brown’s vehicle. Harris’ vehicle came around the left side of Ferrari’s vehicle and struck, then ran over Brown, who had gotten out of his car and was apparently fleeing on foot.
In continuing the pursuit and in driving around Ferrari’s vehicle, Harris may have violated DeLand police policies and procedures. Harris has since been fired by DeLand Police Chief Bill Ridgway.
DeLand officials, on Aug. 21, settled the civil portion of the case with Brown's survivors, by giving them $550,000.
The State Attorney's Office will release information at 3 p.m. today, Tuesday Sept. 10, in the courtyard of the courthouse, 101 N. Alabama Ave. in DeLand.
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