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Dashcam video released in police shooting of 2 Black Florida teenagers

A sheriff’s deputy’s dashcam video that showed the fatal shooting of two Black Florida teenagers was released on Tuesday.

The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office posted a 56-second clip of the dashcam video on Facebook showing the Friday incident that resulted in the deaths of Angelo Crooms, 16, and Sincere Pierce, 18, in Cocoa, Fla. 

Sheriff Wayne Ivey named two deputies as involved in the case: Jafet Santiago-Miranda, who was the shooting officer, and Carson Hendren. Both are on paid administrative leave as the situation is investigated, as is standard procedure. 

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Ivey said the deputies were pursuing the teenagers in an investigation into a possible stolen vehicle. 

The video shows two sheriff’s vehicles following the car with the teenagers before their vehicle pulled into a driveway, backed out and faced the car toward the deputies, who had their guns out. The dashcam footage does not include sound until 36 seconds into the video, when a deputy directs the vehicle to stop at least eight times. 

In a statement accompanying the video, Ivey called attention to “the repeated verbal commands from the deputies for the driver of the vehicle to stop” as well as the direction of the tires.  

“You can actually see the tires of the vehicle turn sharply as the car accelerates towards Deputy Santiago-Miranda who is now in immediate danger of being struck by the vehicle,” he said, adding the deputy was “forced to fire his service weapon in attempt to stop the deadly threat of the car from crashing into him.”

After the shooting, police said two firearms were recovered in the car that had at least three occupants, including Pierce and Crooms, who was identified as the driver.  

Santiago-Miranda has been with the sheriff’s office since February 2017, while Hendren has been with the department since June 2018. 

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The teenagers’ deaths come as the country is dealing with a reckoning over police brutality and racial injustice after the police killings of other Black people like Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.

National civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who represents Taylor’s and Floyd’s families, announced this week he would represent both teenagers’ families and requested the Department of Justice investigate the incident. 

In reaction to the dashcam video, Crump said in a statement that it was "painfully troubling to us that this teen driver and the teen backseat passenger were terrified and drove around deputies who approached the vehicle with guns drawn." 

“The video shows the deputy was still shooting as the car cleared him and posed no threat,” he added. "Claiming that this deputy discharged 10 shots to get himself out of harm's way is a clear attempt to justify the killing of these teens.”

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) is looking into the shooting and reviewing evidence.

"We continue to conduct interviews and hope to be finished with the initial interviews soon," an FDLE spokesperson said in a statement to The Hill. "Once we have completed our investigative reports, we provide that information to the state attorney's office and they determine whether or not charges will be filed. FDLE's investigation is limited to the officer's use of force."

Ivey said the FDLE could give its findings to the State Attorney’s Office within 90 days. The State Attorney’s Office in a statement said “every aspect of this incident will be carefully reviewed.”