ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The Orange County Sheriff’s Office released more body camera video on Wednesday showing the hour after Salaythis Melvin was shot and killed by a deputy in the Florida Mall parking lot earlier this month, but it doesn’t offer information about the critical moments prior to the gunshot.
“It really was much ado about nothing, at least as far as we can tell,” said Carlus Haynes, attorney for the Melvin family.
Orange County Sheriff’s Office Agent James Montiel opened fire on Salaythis Melvin on Aug. 7 outside the Florida Mall as the 22-year-old was running away, previously released body camera video shows.
The sheriff said the incident began when deputies tried to approach a group of four individuals outside Dick’s Sporting Goods because one of the men had an active warrant for his arrest and was also a person of interest in a triple shooting that occurred in Pine Hills in July.
That warrant was not for Melvin and deputies did not know who he was, even asking his name in the body camera video.
When deputies approached, the 22-year-old ran away and toward Montiel, according to the deputy’s account, who got out of his unmarked vehicle and saw Melvin holding a stolen Glock handgun. Deputies did not know the weapon was stolen until after the shooting, according to the attorneys for Melvin’s family.
Melvin died of a single gunshot wound to the back, according to the Sheriff’s Office. He was running away from the deputy when he was shot, the video shows.
The Sheriff’s Office said its records department is going through more than 10 hours of body worn camera footage surrounding the shooting before it can be made public.
A portion of that video was released last week and again on Wednesday, however, the most critical viewpoint of that of the deputy who fired his weapon is not available because his body camera was not on, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
The newly released video shows two men being detained and searched outside of Dick’s Sporting Goods, including one who says he is Melvin’s friend or brother and repeatedly asks deputies to call his mother.
“He just shot my brother, please ma’am, please, he just shot my brother for nothing, you’ve got to understand,” the 19-year-old says while being searched.
Deputies tell him they will call his mother and work to get her phone number from his cellphone.
Most of the newly released video shows deputies who arrived after the shooting and are there to secure the scene, putting up caution tape and warding away curious people and drivers.
The video does show Montiel through the perspective of the responding deputies. In one video, he is on the phone, away from where deputies are performing chest compressions on Melvin.
In another video, Montiel is in a vehicle. He tells another deputy that’s where he was when he shot Melvin. The deputy asks him if “he’s good” and Montiel responds that he is.
“Hi. I was just involved in an officer-involved shooting,” Montiel says to someone while speaking on his radio.
On Thursday, the sheriff’s office released more video showing the aftermath of the shooting. However, it didn’t offer any more insight into what happened. Instead, it showed deputies driving patrol cars, securing the scene and interacting with men in handcuffs.
Melvin’s death has sparked half a dozen protests and calls for the deputy involved to be fired or arrests. On Wednesday, another demonstration was held near the shooting scene and more are planned later in the week.
“We are here because an Orange County sheriff shot and killed an innocent Black man,” protestors chanted near the Florida Mall.
Haynes said he and Melvin’s parents are still demanding the surveillance video from the Florida Mall and Dick’s Sporting Goods to see what they show.
He said they also plan to sue the Sheriff’s Office and are demanding policy changes.
The shooting is under Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation.
“Our role is to conduct a complete and thorough investigation as it relates to the law enforcement officer’s use of force,” FDLE said last week.“Once our investigation is complete, we provide that information to the state attorney who makes the charging decisions. Our investigation is considered ‘active’ until the State Attorney’s Office renders their findings.”
Orange County Sheriff John Mina said the Sheriff’s Office is waiting for the FDLE investigation to be complete before making any decisions about the deputy involved.
Melvin’s death proceeds another recent officer-involved shooting that was captured by bystanders on video showing police in Wisconsin shooting Jacob Blake, who is paralyzed from the waist down. Blake was shot Sunday, three months after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
Not far from where Melvin was shot, inside the NBA Bubble at Walt Disney World, NBA players chose to boycott Game 5 of the playoffs in their strongest statement yet against racial injustice.
Playoff games were cancelled Wednesday after the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted the first game of the night in protest for Blake and other Black men shot by law enforcement officers. The Bucks were set to play the Orlando Magic.