Thursday, January 18, 2007


On September 28, Polk County Sheriff's Office Deputy Matt Williams and his canine partner Diogi were murdered, and another deputy, Doug Speirs, was wounded while chasing a man who fled a routine traffic stop in Lakeland. The resulting manhunt brought in law enforcement officers from throughout the I-4 Corridor and beyond, and the next day SWAT team members stumbled upon suspect Angelo Freeland, firing over 100 rounds and killing him with 68 when he reportedly showed only one hand and noticed a gun in the other.

The PCSO has two seperate investigations still active: A death investigation, and an administrative investigation to determine if the SWAT team's actions were within agency policy. Also, the State Attorney's Office, the Polk County Medical Examiner's Office, and Florida Department of Law Enforcement have or are conducting their own inquiries based within their jurisidictions.

Now, you can add the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI to the list. The DOJ requested the Bureau last month to look into Freeland's shooting based on a request from the Florida Civil Rights Association.

While 101 shots are a bit much by nine or ten officers who were shoulder-to-shoulder in a heavily wooded area, one can certainly understand the situation and tension they were under. Two of their brother officers had been shot, one killed with his canine partner, and the shooter had also fired at two Lakeland police officers shortly afterward. These folks were determined not to be added to the list on a memorial wall in Tallahassee or Washington, D.C. or get a few seconds of rememberance on America's Most Wanted (Matt and Diogi got theirs two weeks ago).

Needless to say, when they came across Freeland hiding under a fallen tree and failed to respond to their command to show both of his hands, noting shortly afterward he apparantly had a gun in one of them, they felt there was an immediate threat. End of story.

If Freeland's family is using this request for an FBI investigation toward an eventual big ticket lawsuit against the Polk County Sheriff's Office (they have obtained the services of St. Petersburg-based attorney Grady C. Irvin, Jr.), it's a shame and disgrace...especially if it is proven that he is the perpitrator.


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