DOCUMENT: Boca Raton Police Officers Signed Statement Claiming To Be Victims, Ordering PD To Withhold Identities.
ATTORNEY: Shooting Looks Legitimate, But Hiding Officer Names Raises Suspicion, Mistrust.
BY: ANDREW COLTON | Editor and Publisher
BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2021 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — As the Boca Raton Police Department continues to shield the officers involved in a shooting earlier this month from public disclosure, a noted civil rights attorney tells BocaNewsNow.com that if the victim was Black, there would be marches “from every corner of the city.”
The victim, Jordan Thompson, is a white male. The Coconut Creek resident remains hospitalized in critical condition at Delray Medical Center.
The attorney, who requested anonymity for now, said the City of Boca Raton is setting a very dangerous precedent by invoking “Marsy’s Law.” The department, traditionally known for transparency, is claiming that officers who shot Jordan Thompson are actually the victims, and therefore protected under the victim rights act.
There is precedent. The First District Court of Appeals ruled that police, in some circumstances, can claim that they are the actual victims of crime after shooting someone. The argument: police wouldn’t have shot if they weren’t in fear for their own safety. By claiming to be victims of crime or violence, police can then deny the public access to their identities.
The appeals court overruled lower court decision affirming that police are public servants and subject to scrutiny and review.
”Why police would hide behind Marsy’s Law raises all sorts of questions,” said the attorney, who is not involved this matter. “This sort of gamesmanship takes what may be a completely legitimate shooting and creates suspicion and mistrust. Today it’s a white suspect. Are you really telling me that the Boca Raton Police Department would hide the identities of officers if they shot a Black citizen? Can you imagine what that would look like? That is a non-starter.”
Thompson was shot outside the Barnes and Noble bookstore on the evening of July 8th. Police allege that Thompson was acting erratically and lunged at officers with a knife. Police ‘body cam’ video, according to the affidavit of probable cause, supports the claim and would indicate the police officers acted appropriately — further raising questions about why the department is blocking the names of the officers involved from public disclosure.
The shooting remains under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement which told BocaNewsNow.com to check back “in a few weeks” for additional information about the shooting.
Thompson, charged with second degree attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, is now represented by private counsel. Before the shooting incident, Thompson had no significant history with law enforcement in Palm Beach County, receiving just two traffic tickets. A proof of insurance citation which was dismissed in 2013, and a careless driving charge which led to driving school in 2011.
Boca Raton Police Chief Michele Miuccio has not issued a statement on the incident, or whether she supports her officers invoking “Marsy’s Law” after they shoot a suspect.
BocaNewsNow.com, acting on behalf of the citizens of Palm Beach County, filed open records requests seeking additional information about the shooting. Under Florida Statute 119, the City of Boca Raton must comply, or publicly state why it is denying access to these records. Our question: why hide information from an incident that could shine a spotlight on what initially appears to be effective police training and response? We will update our readers when a response is received.
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