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Black Lives Matter Group Slams Osceola County Sheriff Lopez in Target Shooting

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (FNN) – Black Lives Matter Restoration Polk, Inc. called for the resignation of Osceola County Sheriff Marcos Lopez during a press conference in Kissimmee Tuesday after the deputy-involved shooting at Target in late April resulting in a death.

Pastor Carl Soto, BLMRP co-founder and vice president, slammed Osceola County Sheriff Marcos Lopez in light of the incident that killed 20-year-old Jayden Baez and injured 18-year-old Michael Gomez and 19-year-old Joseph Lowe.

Video released from the Osceola County sheriff’s office shows the victim’s car going forward when deputies surrounded it. Four people inside the car, including 20-year-old Jayden Baez, were accused of shoplifting. Baez died when deputies fired gunshots.

Pastor Soto noted that the surviving victims of the shooting claim they had their hands up before the shots fired. He clarified that according to the victims, all of the law enforcement vehicles were not only unmarked, but didn’t sound any sirens or flashed any police lights when they approached. He further said that, according to the video, an unmarked deputy vehicle, a silver Ford F-150, struck the vehicle the victims were in first before their vehicle made any moves.

Soto slammed the fact that the deputies involved weren’t wearing body cameras and Sheriff Lopez for clearing his deputies of any wrongdoing.

“We have severe concerns about the credibility of Sheriff Marcos Lopez and demand for him to resign,” Soto pushed during the press conference, demanding criminal charges be filed against “each and every deputy” that discharged their firearms during the incident. He further demanded an independent investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice since, according to him, the FDLE “can’t be transparent” in shootings that involve law enforcement officers. He called on State Attorney Monique Worrell to “do her job” and press charges against the deputies involved immediately.

“We are talking about three teens that allegedly took Pokemon cards…and a box of pizza. We’re not condoning that, but that amounts to a misdemeanor. We now have a 20-year-old that’s dead, we have a 19-year-old that’s in the hospital, and an 18-year-old that nearly got his hand blown off.”

Soto, who said he is the nephew of a lieutenant and the brother of a sergeant, emphasized that the deputies involved are “peace officers” first and should have pursued peaceful means of apprehending the victims first, but instead “chose violence.”

He acknowledged that attorney Mark Nejame is pursuing litigation and that the families of the victims are “appalled” and “angry.”

“This is murder,” he said. “And we’re calling for federal charges.”

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Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | mellissa.thomas@floridanationalnews.com

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