ORLANDO, Florida. – Derek Diaz’s family said they were left with “more questions than answers” after the Orlando Police Department released a body-worn video on Wednesday of last week’s fatal shooting that killed a 26-year-old man.
Diaz was shot and killed around 2 a.m. on July 3 while in his parked car near Jefferson Street and North Orange Avenue. He later died in the hospital. The video shows the moment Diaz was approached by three police officers in his car after he was suspected of illegal drug activities.
In the video, Diaz was ordered to keep his hands on the steering wheel. Then you can see how he takes his hands off the steering wheel, moves and reaches to his right side. The police claimed that Diaz made “a move to retrieve the gun”. The Orlando Police Department said that Diaz allegedly opened the center console of his car.
Moments later, an officer fired at him. Diaz was taken to the hospital, where he died. It is unclear if a weapon was ever found at the scene.
“What we saw on the video is what we always knew… that an unarmed Derek Diaz was sitting peacefully in a legally parked car when he was approached by three armed police officers,” said Natalie Jackson, an attorney at Ben Crump’s law firm, in press conference on Wednesday afternoon with members of the Diaz family.
“And in less than one minute, he was wounded and bleeding,” she said.
Jackson said the family’s main question is why the police approached Diaz “aggressively” in the first place.
Orlando police said they were conducting proactive patrols in the area “to get illegal drugs and criminal weapons off our streets” and that they suspect Diaz of illegal drug activity.
Jackson speculated if it was the smell of marijuana, noting that Diaz had a marijuana medical card for anxiety.
“Why is there a death sentence for this?” She said.
Sonia Nava, the mother of her and Diaz’s 5-year-old daughter, said the family was shown the video 10 minutes before it was released to the general public and news stations.
“We didn’t have time to sort out what happened,” she said. “We were still accepting the video and it was already published just 10 minutes after we had viewed it.”
“While we were watching it, we were told that they were not going to answer any questions,” she said. “They didn’t let us review it. We had to watch three videos one time. They said we should leave, that’s all. They said they would release the video immediately.”
The video was posted to social media shortly after 9:30 am on Wednesday.
Jackson said the family was shown the video “without context” and would like to see the police report.
Police said after the shooting that the video would be released within 30 days. The police said in a statement that they are releasing the videos “with full transparency and in accordance with department policy.”
“We understand the need for answers. It is also necessary to maintain the integrity of the investigation process so that the facts are presented honestly and transparently,” the police said.
The police also expressed their condolences to the Diaz family.
Diaz’s mother did not attend the press conference because she “got sick” after watching the footage. Last week, Diaz attended a press conference with lawyer Ben Crump but was too excited to speak.
At a press conference, Díaz’s aunt Antonia Díaz asked in Spanish why the police had shot Díaz.
“Le preguntaron, ¿Quien lo mató?” “Yo lo hees.” Como fue un animal que mató. No fue un animal, fue un ser humano (“They asked him, ‘Who shot him?’ ‘I shot.’ As if he were an animal. He was not an animal, he was a man). being),” she said.
Orlando police have referred the investigation into the shooting to Florida law enforcement. Citing an investigation, Orland police declined to answer additional questions about the shooting, such as whether a weapon was ever found. All questions have been deferred until FDLE.