ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Protests continued outside the Orange County Sheriff’s Office three weeks after a deputy shot and killed a man at the Florida Mall.
A group of mothers met outside the headquarters calling for justice for Salaythis Melvin.
Tina Wilson, with the Juneteenth Protest Coalition, was one of the organizers. She said they were protesting to support Melvin’s mother, Michelin McKee.
“We will not allow the shooting of Black men in their back in the state of Florida. We are marching, we are mothers, we are supporting Ms. McKee.”
Orange County Sheriff’s Office Agent James Montiel opened fire on 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 released more body camera video this week. In one clip, it shows the moment Montiel got a phone call after the shooting.
“You might need to call someone else because I was the one involved,” Montiel said while talking on the phone to an unknown person. “OK, it was just me and one other bad guy.”
The family’s attorney, Carlus Haynes, said none of the videos released give them what they need. He wants to see video from a Florida Mall security camera that shows the parking lot where the shooting happened.
He said he asked the mall and sheriff’s office for the video, but he hasn’t received it.
“Once we get that, that’s going to shed a lot of light on the situation,” Haynes said.
He adds if they don’t get the video by the end of next week, they are preparing to ask the Department of Justice to investigate.
This comes as the family prepares for Melvin’s funeral on Saturday.
“They’re asking that anyone that’s attending, they’re doing so to pay respects, not to protest, not to be having signs. They really don’t want it about the sheriff and what’s not happening,” Haynes said. “They just want the focus to be on their son and the life that he lived that was tragically cut short.”