BREVARD COUNTY, FL — A man involved in a 2015 shooting of a sherriff’s deputy might see his charges dropped because, according to him, the fight was an honest mistake.
That might sound totally insane, but the sheriff’s office here is not entirely innocent either — showing up in the middle of the night and failing to identify yourself is a great way to create confusion when you try to arrest someone.
According to the Orlando Sentinel:
Authorities said John DeRossett, then 65, wounded Agent John “Casey” Smith during the shootout at DeRossett’s home on Covina Street on Aug. 20, 2015. DeRossett was also wounded.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, Smith and other agents were there to arrest DeRossett’s 42-year-old niece for prostitution, after she had agreed in text messages to meet an agent for sex. When she answered the door, one of the agents grabbed her to make an arrest and the woman to cried out for help, records show. In a new motion filed by his defense lawyer, Michael Panella of Orlando, DeRossett claims he rushed to his niece’s aid not knowing until later the person who grabbed her was an agent.
“John DeRossett was under no obligation to sit back, let Mary Ellis be kidnapped by strangers in the night, and do nothing to save her,” the motion said. “It’s clear that had John DeRossett known they were police officers, he never would have fired his weapon.”
Authorities said Smith and another agent were wearing vests marked “Sheriff” in yellow lettering. In the motion, DeRossett’s defense argued he was unable to see the lettering in the dark and chaotic setting. A third agent, who was posing as the “John” soliciting sex from DeRossett’s niece, was in plain street clothes, the motion said.
What’s more, a report from WESH 2 notes that two of the three deputies present admitted that they did not identify themselves. That’s a huge problem.
If you woke up in the middle of the night to one of your relatives screaming for help in the middle of the night and seemingly being assaulted by three men, two of which are clad in black, what would you do?
I’m here for law enforcement all the way, but this seems to be an honest mistake. One way or another, hopefully both wounded parties can take a step towards justice in a hearing scheduled for later this month.
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