Family Representative Claims Palm Beach Sheriff's Deputy Used Excessive Force In Fatal Shooting

LAKE WORTH, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — A woman representing the family of man shot by a Palm Beach Sheriff Deputy is claiming that the police over reacted to a non-lethal situation, and that a “rookie” police officer killed a man for no reason. Jesus Barreto, police say, charged at deputies with a knife as they responded to a disturbance call in Lake Worth. Fearing for his life — and his partner’s life — police say a deputy opened fire at Barreto. He died at Delray Medical Center.

In a widely circulated press release rebuttal, family communications representative Kathy Andrew says that the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Deputy who fired the fatal shot was a rookie, and that police issued a press release discussing Mr. Barreto’s history with “severe depression and schizophrenia.” Additionally, the release states that PBSO provided details of his arrest as a juvenile to the public.

However, BocaNewsNow.com, in a review of all press releases on the matter, found no such reference. Additionally, Ms. Andrew tells BocaNewsNow.com that she freelances for the Miami Herald, which raises questions about her involvement in this case.

Palm Beach Sheriff Office spokeswoman Teri Barbera says she “has no idea where she is getting her information.”

Below, find the official “Media Advisory” as issued by Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Department shortly after the shooting occurred. At the bottom of this page, find the release issued by Kathy Andrew.

Anyone with additional information on this case is asked to contact our news desk at news(at)bocanewsnow.com.

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Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an Deputy Involved Shooting

On Tuesday, October 25, 2011, shortly after 9:00 pm, deputies were dispatched to a disturbance in the 800 block of South Federal Highway, Lake Worth. As the deputies attempted to approach the home a male subject exited the residence with a large knife and began to charge the deputies. Deputies ordered the subject to drop the knife. The subject refused to comply. Deputy (1) deployed his Taser striking the subject which had no effect. Deputy (2) in fear of his life and the life of his partner discharged his firearm striking the subject in the torso.

The subject was transported via trauma hawk to Delray Medical Center. Condition is unknown.

We are still in the preliminary stages of this investigation.

More information will be released when it becomes available.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

23-YEAR OLD SHOT AND KILLED BY ROOKIE PALM BEACH OFFICERS

Official Press Release From Sherriff’s Office Released to Public with Many Inaccuracies – Witness’ Say Excessive Force Was Used Which May Have Lead to Death.

October 27th, 2011, -Lake Worth, FL – Palm Beach authorities approved a press release for distribution this week related to the death of 23-year old Jesus Emmanuel Barreto, who was shot and killed and by rookie Palm Beach police officers on the evening of Tuesday, October 25th 2011. Correctly, the release stated that officers were called to the home of Mr. Barreto and his girlfriend after neighbors heard a disturbance and called the police.

Palm Beach police claim that Mr. Barreto opened the door and charged at them with a knife. The witness inside the home disputes this and states that “he opened the door wanting to know who was banging so hard, he grabbed a knife and just took one step outside to see what was going on.” Again correctly the Sherriff’s dept stated that Mr. Barreto was shot by a taser first which had no effect. Officers then shot multiple gun shots into his torso, over 2 shell casings were found at the crime scene.

Once the witness inside the home was removed outside for her statement she was able to see Mr. Barreto on the floor shaking and says “I saw him shot and blood everywhere and just groaning for help and in pain, I then saw them turn him over and that is when I saw his eyes open and crying and groaning even more. He was alive when they escorted me out of the house but the ambulance did not arrive until 15-20 minutes later and did not leave the house until over 40 minutes from when I saw him alive. Why did it take so long!”

The official press release also made mention of Mr. Barreto’s prior law enforcement record and that his first arrest was made as a juvenile. What the press release did not mention and was known to the police at the time of press release was that Mr. Barreto was diagnosed with severe depression and schizophrenia and it was this first arrest where the diagnosis was made. He had since been disabled by the state and collecting SSI disability benefits. “The statement was written in a way to protect the officer(s) and the integrity of the Sherriff’s office with no respect for the actual truth. There was never a helicopter used as they mention and they also didn’t release to the public that he was shot when he was on the floor as the officers were not sure if he had any other weapons on him, he is shot on the floor, they could not of just tasered (sp) him again instead of shooting more shots! Wasn’t this excessive force and had it not been used would Mr. Barreto still be alive” claims a source very close to the case.

Replies to emails by the Sherriff’s office have been vague. “I urge the public and the community to stand up and ask questions to ensure this never happens to anyone else. A trigger happy rookie officer who took extreme and excessive measures should not be protecting our families or streets.” Stated a neighbor in the same complex as Mr. Barreto when the incident occurred.

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