ORLANDO, Florida. – Family and friends of the man shot dead by Orlando police earlier this month will say goodbye on Friday during a memorial service.
Derek Diaz, 26, was fatally shot in downtown Orlando on July 3. There will be two funeral services on Friday, one in Orlando and the other in the afternoon in Palm Bay.
According to Orlando Police Chief Eric Smith, officers actively patrolled the area, calling it a hotbed of criminal activity and believing that Diaz was involved in the drug business. Police said Diaz disobeyed the officers’ orders and one of them shot him because he made a “quick move” as if he wanted to get a firearm. Diaz was declared dead in the hospital.
Body camera videos were released this week showing the events leading up to the shooting.
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Diaz’s family and lawyers held a press conference after the video was released and said they were left with more questions than answers.
“What we saw on the video was that we always knew that Derek was peaceful – because he is, by all accounts, a peaceful person – that an unarmed Derek Diaz was sitting peacefully in a legally parked car when he was aggressively approached by three armed policemen. and in less than one minute he was shot and bleeding,” said lawyer Natalie Jackson.
In one of the videos, several officers are seen approaching the car Diaz was in and asking him to turn off the car. He is seen holding his phone and another object before an officer asks him to put both hands on the steering wheel.
The video shows the officer opening the door and telling Diaz to put his hands back on the steering wheel. The video shows Diaz raising one hand in the air, opening the car’s center console.
“Hands on the steering wheel, hands on the steering wheel,” an officer yells before shots are fired in the video.
Drugs were found during the investigation, Smith said, but Orlando police still haven’t said what drugs were found or where.
Regardless of what drugs were discovered, Jackson first questioned whether officers had the right to approach Diaz.
“If the cause was, as we believe, maybe the smell of marijuana, then why was there a death sentence for this?” Jackson said. “…We just hear the word ‘drug’ all the time, and I mean, Derek did have a medical card for marijuana, he was suffering from anxiety. So that comes into play when you’re dealing with cops and when they’re being very aggressive with someone.”
The family created GoFundMe to help with funeral expenses, which can be found by clicking here.
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