Jacksonville Cop Kills Unarmed Drug Suspectby Phillip Smith
May. 11, 2012
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A Jacksonville, Florida, police officer shot and killed an unarmed drug suspect during a traffic stop early Wednesday morning when the man reached down inside his car. Davinian Darnell Williams, 36, becomes the 28th person to die in domestic drug law enforcement operations so far this year.
According to Jacksonville Police Chief Tom Hackney, Officer Jeff Edwards pulled over Williams for "driving suspiciously in a[n]… area known for drug activity." Williams tried to evade Edwards by making sudden turns and running stop signs.
When Williams finally stopped, the chief said, he refused commands to show his hands and was moving around inside the vehicle. Officer Edwards moved from one side of the car to the other to get a better view of what Williams was doing.
"At that time, the suspect made a sudden motion, reaching down," Hackney said.
Edwards then opened fire, shooting seven times through a side window and hitting Williams with six of the shots. Williams died at the scene.
Police found 17 grams of powder cocaine in one of Williams' socks and less than a gram of crack cocaine in the other. There was no weapon on Williams or in the car.
Williams had a criminal record dating back to 1992, including possession of marijuana, sale and possession of cocaine, resisting arrest, and battery on a law enforcement officer.
Officer Edwards has been placed on administrative leave while the State's Attorney's Office investigates.
Williams' killing was the seventh shooting by Jacksonville police this year and the fourth fatal one. In 2010 and 2011, Jacksonville police shot eight people each year, and in both years, four of them died.
"These traffic stops are filled with inherent dangers," Hackney said.