A fatal police shooting in Florida has many wondering why a deaf man was killed by a deputy over the weekend. Apparently, the hearing-impaired man’s son watched as an officer shot his father six times after he allegedly didn’t obey orders.
Edward P. Miller, 52, and his son were in Fryer’s Towing Company, apparently to pick up a vehicle stored there. At some point during their visit, the Millers had a verbal altercation with workers there. Meanwhile, Joel Hernandez, a deputy with Volusia Sheriff’s Department, who was on another investigation nearby, observed the disturbance and intervened. Moments later, the deaf man was shot and killed by the deputy, who was dressed in street clothes at the time, according to ClickOrlando.
Gary Davidson, a police spokesperson, said the Daytona Beach shooting took place after Hernandez “perceived a threat.” Specifically, the deaf man was killed by the deputy because he “brandished a weapon” and did not obey instructions to stand down.
“While the specific sequence of events isn’t being released at this time due to the ongoing investigation, during the encounter, Hernandez perceived a threat and fired his duty weapon, striking and killing the man.”
The son of the deaf man killed by the deputy said his father lost his hearing as a child when he contracted the mumps virus. Since then, he’s worn a hearing aid, which allows only 2 percent of sounds to be processed by the brain.
Moreover, family members said the hearing-impaired man’s battery may have been at the end of its life, which could account for him not complying with the officer. Additionally, it would explain in part why employees at the towing company thought he was being belligerent and aggressive, when he was likely yelling because he couldn’t hear well.
The deaf man’s son insisted that he tried desperately to inform the deputy of the man’s condition before he shot him six times, to no avail. He also said his father did not brandish his weapon as police report; it was tucked out of view in his waistband. Moreover, he says his father has a concealed weapons permit in the state of Florida.
“I kept telling them that he can’t hear them. I was right there. I saw the whole thing.”
A transcript of a 911 call from the previous day, apparently of an employee at the business, was released, which offers another account of the events that led to the man being killed by the officer. New information suggests the deaf man and his son were at the same towing company the day before the deputy shot and killed the man.
“I’m releasing cars and I have a gentleman that was coming to pick up his vehicle and they’re both drunk. The younger man, I kicked him off the property twice now. I told them they’d have to wait their turn and they’re being belligerent and the younger man has a gun in the back side of him. I do not feel safe and I need an officer here.”
The killing of the deaf man by the deputy is not Hernandez’s first officer-involved shooting. Reportedly, back in January of 2013, the deputy shot and killed another man who didn’t comply with orders. Records show the man was suicidal.
One month after he was cleared of the fatal shooting, the deputy was issued a departmental reprimand for using excessive force. Reports show he kicked a man in the face.
The case of the deaf man killed by the Florida deputy is still under investigation. Supposedly, the family has retained an attorney and intend to pursue legal action. Meanwhile, Hernandez is on administrative leave.
[Image via: Opposing Views]