Knowing his dash cam was recording everything, a Florida cop did not hesitate to use his patrol car to follow a man 100 feet into an open field, plowing down a fence at 60 mph, before mowing down the fleeing man, killing him instantly.
The man’s crime: he was not wearing a seatbelt.
The dash cam video, which still has not been released, was apparently so graphic that Deland Police Chief Bill Ridgway had no choice but to fire the officer.
But only time will tell whether James (J.P.) Harris will face murder charges.
Marlon Brown was killed in the incident, which occurred on May 8 after law enforcement officers tried to pull him over for not wearing a seat belt. Investigators say Brown wouldn’t stop and a chase ensued with DeLand police joining. Brown jumped out of his car and ran away, troopers said.
As Harris arrived on scene, he drove more than 100 feet off the road through a backyard fence and ran over and killed Brown, troopers said. Four other passengers in Brown’s vehicle were not injured.
“Although the investigation into the death of Marlon Brown hasn’t been concluded, I am aware of certain facts surrounding the case,” Ridgeway said in a prepared statement. “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.”
The reason Brown was fleeing, it was later revealed, was because he was driving with a suspended license and did not want to go to jail. There was no contraband in the car.
The 38-year-old man was also the son of an Atlanta police officer.
While it’s never smart to flee from a cop, we can’t ignore the fact the cop drove 100 feet off the road through a backyard fence at 60 mph to mow down a man who was only suspected of not wearing a seatbelt.
One is a traffic violation. The other is outright murder.