Titusville, Florida police officer Joshua Payne turned himself in yesterday (June 1) in connection to a fatal shooting that occurred late last year.
On December 26, 2021, Payne shot and killed 40-year-old James Lowery, a Black man, while chasing him on foot. The officer is now in Brevard County Jail and will face a manslaughter charge.
At the time of the incident, Payne and other officers were responding to a 911 domestic violence report. Police arrived near Gayle Avenue after a call stated that a woman was being beaten on the road.
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Lowery matched the domestic battery complaint description of the suspect. Reports state that as the officer attempted to stop the suspect, the 40-year-old fled the scene.
Payne allegedly shot Lowery twice with his taser, but the suspect continued to run away. A report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement says that Lowery reached the gate of a nearby home and tossed a bag of narcotics over the fence. The report adds that as the officer told the suspect to “get down,” the man climbed the fence to escape.
At that moment, sources say the officer pulled the trigger on his gun and taser, striking Lowery in back of his head. He died from his wounds.
Payne, who was hired in July of 2020, was placed on unpaid suspension after the incident.
Earlier this year, civil rights attorney Ben Crump filed a lawsuit against the Titusville Police Department. The famed lawyer is working on behalf of Lowery’s family.
Crump released a statement that read, “We are encouraged by the state attorney’s decision to file charges against Officer Payne for his deadly actions, but we will not stop fighting until there is a conviction. Officer Payne targeted, stalked, tased and shot James in the back of the head despite the fact that he wasn’t involved in the case that was being investigated, wasn’t armed, and was in no way threatening the officer.” It continued, “Officer Payne’s actions, as laid out in black and white in the affidavit, were nothing short of criminal. Nothing will bring James back to his family and loved ones, but we can bring them a measure of justice by holding Officer Payne accountable. And today’s charges bring us one step closer.”