What authority do officers have when investigating possible crime?

Former FHP trooper, News 6 safety expert Steve Montiero


ORLANDO, Fla. – After a shooting involving two Orlando police officers ended in a suspect being killed Monday, some people have asked what authority a law enforcement officer has when investigating a possible crime.

News 6 traffic safety expert and former FHP trooper Steve Montiero said that when citizens are stopped by a law enforcement officer whether to obey the officers lawful instructions, commands or direction is not up for debate.

Every state has some version of a law that requires citizens to obey an officer's lawful instructions. In Florida that stipulation is under traffic statute 316.072. Officers are given this authority to enforce the laws and keep people safe, Montiero said.

During the officer-involved shooting on Monday, a man was shot and killed at an Orlando shopping center while he was driving an alleged getaway car for two women who shoplifted from a Marshalls store, police said.

"A lot of people may say, 'Well, he was just running away.' The driver may have just attempted to escape detention but, during the encounter verbal commands were given and they were told to remain on scene," Montiero said.

Montiero said that the people in the vehicle didn't have an option to leave and should have listened to the officer's commands.

"It’s not up to you," Montiero said. "Officers are in charge of that situation it’s how our laws are written and its how officers are able to maintain order."

Everyday citizens comply with lawful orders and think nothing about it. Montiero said this situation was unique.

"During this attempted escape, the situation did create a potential deadly situation for the officer forcing him to stop the threat," Montiero said. "This is the extreme."

The driver of the van, 32-year-old Juan Alberto Silva, which he crashed just north of Langford Park, died from his injuries, officials said.

Two other occupants of the van -- 32-year-old Jocelyn Villot and 26-year-old Brittany Chandler -- were arrested on charges of felony murder, grand theft and resisting an officer without violence, records show.

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