BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – The Gregory Edwards video will be made public, News 6 partner Florida Today reports.
Brevard County Circuit Judge David Dugan signed off on an agreement between FLORIDA TODAY and the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office this weekend calling for jail security footage showing Edwards to be released at 12:30 p.m. Friday.
Edwards, a U.S. combat veteran, died Dec. 10, 2018, while in the custody of the sheriff’s office. He was arrested a day earlier by West Melbourne police outside a retail store for allegedly assaulting a charity worker. His wife, Kathleen, told arresting officers her husband was a combat veteran suffering from a PTSD episode.
Edwards resisted being booked into the Brevard County Jail Complex in Sharpes, leading to an altercation with at least seven deputies. Edwards was punched, kneed, tased, pepper-sprayed and then strapped in a restraint chair with a spit hood over his head and pepper spray still on his face. Paramedics were called after deputies later found him unresponsive in his cell. He died the next day at a local hospital.
FLORIDA TODAY originally requested the surveillance video roughly six weeks after Edwards' death but was denied by the Sheriff’s Office citing security exemptions to the state’s public records law. The sheriff’s office said its release could endanger the safety of deputies and inmates at the jail.
FLORIDA TODAY filed a lawsuit against the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office in July seeking the video. Trial was set for Oct. 27, and then rescheduled for Nov. 16 as both sides worked toward a settlement agreement that addressed the sheriff’s security concerns while making the video accessible to the public.
The agreed-upon video will allow the public to see what happened to Edwards from the moment he entered the Brevard County Jail with only certain security features being redacted.
Demonstrators gathered outside the Moore Justice Center during a recent hearing, calling for Ivey to release the video and Dugan thanked some of those demonstrators who came inside to watch the hearing.
“There is an extremely compelling need for the public to know. There are very compelling issues,” Dugan said, emphasizing a needed balance between the public’s right to the video and the sheriff’s security concerns.