Orlando police release body camera footage in fatal shooting of Derek Diaz, an unarmed man
On Wednesday, the Orlando Police Department released body camera video of the shooting of Derek Diaz, who died after being shot by an officer on July 3.
Diaz, 26, was sitting in his car in downtown Orlando at around 2 a.m. when officers approached him, suspecting he had drugs.
Diaz appeared to comply with the officer’s request to turn off the car and place his hands on the steering wheel, but when the officer opened the driver’s side door, body camera footage showed Diaz reaching into the center console of the car.
The officer fired a single shot and ran away from the car, the body camera footage showed. The Orlando Police Department said the officer feared Diaz was reaching for a gun.
Body camera footage from the officer standing on the passenger’s side showed an object being thrown from the car, according to police. Orlando police allege the object was a bag containing an unspecified drug.
The rest of the body camera footage showed officers performing CPR on Diaz, who was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
Calls for police to release the body camera footage have grown since Orlando Police Chief Eric Smith revealed that Diaz was unarmed. No gun was found inside his vehicle, according to NBC affiliate WESH.
The Orlando Police Department released the following statement with the body camera footage:
Today, in full transparency and accordance with department policy, the Orlando Police Department is releasing body-worn camera video of the officer-involved shooting that occurred on July 3, 2023, in the area of Jefferson Street and North Orange Avenue, resulting in the death of Derek Diaz.
Our officers proactively patrol to remove illegal drugs and crime guns off our streets. At the intersection of this incident, there were 431 incidents in the last 18 months.
Earlier this morning, the Orlando Police Department met with the Diaz family and their attorney to show them the body worn camera video before it was released publicly. I express my sincere condolences to the Diaz family on the loss of their loved one.
We understand the need for answers. Maintaining the integrity of the investigation process is also needed so that the facts are provided fairly and transparently. An investigation not only involves body-worn camera video of the incident but also includes the collection of witness testimony, evidence, and other materials.
Since the incident happened, the Orlando Police Department has been cooperating with the FDLE investigation, and we will continue to do so as we are all committed to a thorough and transparent review of this case.
ORLANDO POLICE CHIEF ERIC SMITH
Diaz’ family hired civil rights attorney Ben Crump – whose firm has worked on several high-profile officer-involved shooting cases, like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Michael Brown – to represent them. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the officer-involved shooting.
The Orlando Police Department is expected to discuss the body camera footage in a news conference Wednesday afternoon.