Brevard jail video of inmate death won’t be released before Election Day

Tentative agreement reached Friday to make 2018 video public

Brevard jail video of inmate death won’t be released before Election Day
Brevard jail video of inmate death won’t be released before Election Day

VIERA, Fla. – If the public finally gets to see video of Gregory Edwards beyond his arrest, a judge said it will be under the conditions set by Brevard Sheriff Wayne Ivey to protect privacy concerns inside the county jail, and newspaper Florida Today receives a redacted version of the video that still tells the full story.

“They are making a very reasonable argument that the public needs to know what happened at the jail,” Brevard circuit court Judge David Dugan said Friday.

Edwards was charged with hitting a charity Santa Claus at a West Melbourne Walmart on Dec. 9, 2018. Family said the 38-year-old combat veteran was having a PTSD episode.

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After being booked into the Brevard County jail, the sheriff said Edwards fought with at least seven deputies.

Edwards was hit, tazed, and handcuffed to a restraint chair with a hood over his head while pepper spray was on his face. He was later found non-responsive in his cell and died.

Attorney Alton Edmond, the sheriff’s Election Day challenger, is anticipating the video’s release.

“He was non-responsive and never spoke again, never got an opportunity to see his children or his wife again,” Edmond said.

The criminal defense lawyer and former public defender said he watch the video to see what Edwards said and what he did once inside the jail.

“And then I would look at the response,” Edmond said. "I would look to determine if that response was appropriate to his behavior.

Ivey has said his deputies did nothing wrong.

“That video shows a very violent man and a response to that violent attack, actually the attempted murder of one of our deputies by that individual,” Ivey said.

The sheriff said the deputies handled the situation correctly and just as they’ve been trained to do.

Florida Today and the sheriff’s office have until Friday to submit their agreement reached last week to the court. The judge then has to approve the agreement before video can become public.

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