Video shows Florida deputy fatally shooting man who was in a fight with another deputy
And on Friday afternoon, the sheriff’s office took the unusual step of releasing additional video from surveillance cameras, two deputies’ body cameras and 911 recordings from the open investigation to defend the actions of Deputies Sean Youngward, 48, and Steven Briggs, 49, when they met Jean Pedro Pierre, 42, Wednesday at the Sunset Hills Condominium in Lauderdale Lakes.
Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said Friday he wanted to share the evidence to be transparent and correct what he called “misinformation” about the shooting. At the beginning of his press conference, he offered condolences to Pierre’s family.
“I cannot imagine what you are going through,” Israel said.
But he also wanted to take steps to keep peace in the community.
“There is information on social media that is just untrue and are actual lies,” Israel said.
He said Pierre was shot three times, not seven, and he did not die at the complex, as was rumored.
“He was given CPR, our firefighters transported him to Broward Health Medical Center and he died [there] hours later,” Israel said.
“What you see on video is not the end all, but what you see on video is indisputable,” Israel said. “The public cannot say that this person was executed. … And I think it’s critically important to the Broward County citizen to see what actually happened so that rumor, innuendo and violence will not start.”
The surveillance video is from the condominium’s security cameras. It does not have audio, but the deputies’ body camera videos and citizen’s video that was shot from several stories above the shooting scene do have sound.
Youngward was the first deputy to respond at 4:50 p.m. to a report of a disturbance at the complex, at 3610 NW 21st St. that is east of State Road 7. Videos show that when they met at the apartment door, Youngward was “overwhelmed by the superior size and strength” of Pierre, Israel said.
Several times, Pierre slaps Youngward who aims a Taser at him as the men move out of the hallway and toward a parking lot.
The body camera footage puts the viewer in the deputies’ boots, and it’s harrowing. Youngward, hired two years ago by the sheriff’s office, tells Pierre to “Back down,” “What’s wrong with you?” and “Stand down” as they fight their way out to the parking lot. The clicking of Youngward’s Taser can be heard.
“Settle down,” Youngward says. “You tell me what’s wrong here. Just tell me, what is wrong?”
Pierre’s responses are not clearly audible on the body camera recording.
“It was a violent encounter,” Israel said. When Youngward’s Taser did not stop Pierre, the deputy falls on his back onto the ground, and Pierre kicks him multiple times. He also grabs the deputy’s foot. Youngward pulls out an expandable baton but barely uses it.
“Let go of my leg, sir!” Youngward can be heard saying several times on the cellphone video.
Youngward may have drawn on training to try to de-escalate the situation, Israel said. Youngward did not pull his gun or aim it at Pierre.
“When police officers and deputies act appropriately, we do not decide the use of force,” Israel said. “The amount of force that is exhibited is decided by the suspect that we’re trying to bring into custody or the person that we’re trying to help. He did everything he could to save himself and to end this confrontation. Mr. Pierre grabbed his leg and the deputy was basically rendered helpless.”
The cellphone video also recorded the voices of onlookers who were standing on an upper floor of the four-story complex. Youngward had called in a Code 3, signaling he was in great danger, and as approaching sirens grew louder, the bystanders urged Pierre to let go of the deputy.
They shouted down to Pierre, “Turn him loose, dog! Don’t get yourself in trouble.” and … “They’re gonna shoot you man, they’re gonna shoot you, bro.” and “Let him go, let him go! Be smart.”
Deputy Briggs arrived, and his body camera video showed he ran so quickly toward Youngward and Pierre that he held both his gun and his keys as he took aim and ordered Pierre to stop kicking Youngward.
“Get off him! Get your hands off him now!,” Briggs said.
A 911 caller tells a dispatcher, “There’s a guy fighting with two cops.” Gunfire can be heard in the background of the call, and she says, “They shot him, I think. I can’t be sure.”
“Mr. Pierre chose the path of non-compliance,” said Israel. Then, the sheriff said, Pierre “charged at Deputy Briggs. Deputy Briggs had his firearm. He shot three times.”
One of the bystanders on an upper floor said on the cellphone recording, “Oh my God! God doggit. They shot him, man.”
While some expressed shock and anguish about what they had witnessed, one voice questioned Pierre’s actions.
“He caused that on himself, really,” a man said. “He had the officer on the ground, he had hold to the officer’s leg. … The dude wouldn’t stand down. … He had a chance. … If he would have just let go of the man’s leg, he’d be alive right now.”
Pierre was not armed and he fell wounded to the ground.
Briggs’ body camera records his breathless calls over his radio, “Shots fired!” and then, “Send rescue for the suspect. East side of the building.”
A SWAT team arrived but they weren’t needed. Deputies began performing CPR on Pierre, surveillance video showed.
Thirty-one minutes after Youngward had knocked on Pierre’s door, the wounded man was in an ambulance and on his way to the hospital, where he died.
Friends told WFOR-Ch. 4 that Pierre was a father, worked in business and once ran for political office in Haiti, his place of birth.
“This is devastating to all of us and it’s not making sense,” one of his friends, Nekita Dulcio, told the television station.
She said the idea of Pierre attacking a deputy did not match the man they knew.
“Charming, loving, this is not making sense to the family or anyone at all. What took place, what triggered it?” she said.
Briggs and Youngward were put on administrative leave after the shooting, per their agency’s policy.
Israel said Briggs, who has 18 years on the job, is considered by a superior as “one of the best.” He has worked in Lauderdale Lakes for many years and is popular there.
“Deputy Briggs didn’t ask for this,” Israel said. “This is something that happened in a split second that he was forced to deal with.”
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shooting. Israel said any family questions about Pierre’s mental state that day may be a part of FDLE’s investigation.
He stressed that neither the Sheriff’s Office nor FDLE will decide whether Pierre’s killing was justified.
“The investigation that will be done completely by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, will be turned over to the State Attorney’s Office, a grand jury will convene and a grand jury will decide whether … a deputy is indicted or not,” he said. “We will honor whatever verdict the grand jury comes to.”