Authorities have released the horrific footage of a double homicide at the hands of Florida officers.
According to ClickOrlando, Angelo Crooms and Sincere Pierce were in a car driving away from a traffic stop on Nov. 13 when Brevard County Sheriff Deputy Jafet Santiago-Mirand fired multiple shots at the vehicle, striking and fatally killing both individuals.
The cops reportedly believed the Black teens were driving a stolen Volkswagen sedan. They’d noticed the car along the Dixon Boulevard near Clearlake Road earlier that day, but were able to get close to the vehicle when it entered a residential neighborhood.
Footage from Santiago-Mirand’s car shows him and fellow officer Carson Hendren following the sedan into a driveway before surrounding it with their patrol cars, exiting their vehicles and pulling out their weapons. Crooms pulls out of driveway and is ordered to stop, but continues to drive onto the road.
“Stop the vehicle, God damn it,” the deputy demands. The Volkswagen then speeds toward the officers, prompting Santiago-Mirand to fire what sounds like 10 shots at the car. Crooms and Pierce were fatally shot, but a third occupant survived the gunfire.
The sheriff’s office released a statement that justifies Santiago-Mirand’s shooting, claiming the deputy was “forced to fire his service weapon” to “stop the deadly threat of the car from crashing into him.”
Following a vigil for Crooms and Pierce on Wednesday (Nov. 18), Crooms’ mother, Tasha Strachan, said the officers could have handled things differently. “I want answers to why that was done,” she told ClickOrlando. “It didn’t have to be done like that.” Pierce’s mother, Quasheda Pierce — who also wants “some answers” following her son’s death — said she is “looking for a little closure.”
The teens’ families have since hired civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who insists they failed to comply with officers’ demands as a result of fear.
“Video released by @BrevardSheriff clearly shows AJ Crooms & Sincere Pierce were terrified, trying to drive around cops who approached w/ guns drawn,” Crump tweeted. “Out of harm’s way, the deputy moved closer to get a better shot, firing w/ intent to kill, then kept firing as the car passed by.” He has also called out the sheriff’s office for failing to “take action” against Santiago-Mirand, who was guilty of burglary and felony gun charges and faces charges of domestic violence with children.
Crump is demanding the release of all footage related to the incident.
Per the Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the 18th Circuit State Attorney Phil Archer’s office will conduct an investigation into the shooting. In the interim, Santiago-Mirand and Hendren — who did not fire her weapon — are being paid on administrative leave.
We demand @BrevardSheriff release ALL footage, inc. dashcam footage from the other vehicle and any neighborhood surveillance videos.— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) November 18, 2020
We also urge anyone with video evidence, inc. neighbors with surveillance cams, to come forward ASAP. #JusticeForAJ #JusticeForSincere
Deputy Santiago-Miranda, who fatally shot Black teens AJ Crooms & Sincere Pierce, was guilty of burglary & felony gun charges AND has pending charges of domestic violence w/ children! Why didn't @brevardSheriff take action against this dangerous deputy?! https://t.co/75bymQCiMl— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) November 19, 2020
A police use-of-force expert says dashcam footage of A.J. Crooms and Sincere Pierce's death shows Deputy Santiago-Miranda was NOT justified in shooting the two Black teens. His life was NOT in danger and he put innocent lives at risk, ultimately killing them! We demand JUSTICE! pic.twitter.com/S4eXqtDHhN— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) November 19, 2020