‘Public needs to be protected:’ Orlando attorney responds to grand jury handling use of force cases

Cases include 2022 deputy shooting at an Osceola County Target

ORLANDO, Fla. – A month into the job, the governor-appointed Ninth Circuit state attorney announced a policy change regarding use of force cases. Andrew Bain said a grand jury will be the deciders of whether criminal charges are filed against an officer who uses force in a criminal case.

One of the cases his office still has to decide is whether to file charges against several Osceola County sheriff’s deputies involved in a deadly shooting in April 2022 at a Target.

The case came under scrutiny when the attorney for the family of the 20-year-old killed showed evidence deputies opened fire in what at most could be called a misdemeanor retail theft case. Before her removal from office, State Attorney Monique Worrell’s office said it was actively investigating the case.

Attorney Mark NeJame said he looks forward to a grand jury reviewing the evidence in the case.

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“The public needs to be protected. The public needs to be safeguarded. The vast majority of law enforcement are underpaid, overworked. Putting their lives on the line for the community,” NeJame said.

NeJame emphasized the vast majority of Florida’s law enforcement go above and beyond every day to protect the greater good. Additionally, he noted how future use of force could be affected given the notion a public jury would review the evidence.

“For those who would disgrace the badge, for those who would rather break the law than follow the law, this will put them under scrutiny,” Nejame said.

Bain said there will be more policy updates soon, including changes to the office’s diversion program.

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About the Author:

Troy graduated from California State University Northridge with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication. He has reported on Mexican drug cartel violence on the El Paso/ Juarez border, nuclear testing facilities at the Idaho National Laboratory and severe Winter weather in Michigan.