OVIEDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - A grand jury on Tuesday indicted an Oviedo police officer, charging him with two counts of aggravated battery and one count of shooting into an occupied vehicle, stemming from an incident on September 1, 2016.
Matthew Danler, 37, was responding with two other officers to a call for help on Sharon Court. Danler and the other officers approached a vehicle. The driver revved his engine and drove around the police vehicle, “in an aggressive manner," according to the Oviedo Police Department, before the shooting.
"This was a difficult case. Whether or not an officer is justified in an on-duty shooting is of tremendous public importance, and I felt that in this case it was important to have input from the community through the Grand Jury," State Attorney Phil Archer said in a statement sent to FOX 35.
The grand jury heard testimony from a Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) agent and two witnesses to the incident, according to the State Attorney’s Office.
Oviedo Police Chief Jeffrey Chudnow wouldn't say how he felt about the indictment.
"It's not a matter of satisfied or dissatisfied. The process has to occur. We have to rely on the independency [sic] of the FDLE and the State Attorney's Office," he said.
Danler has had a checkered past with the police department – the subject of several internal investigations – fired once for insubordination, but later reinstated.
Tuesday's charges are all second-degree felonies which carry a statutory maximum of 15 years in prison each. Danler, who was reassigned to desk duty following the shooting surrendered at the Seminole County jail late Tuesday afternoon and bonded out of jail in the evening. He is now on administrative leave without pay.
This is the Overido Police Department's first officer-involved-shooting in more than 30 years. Chief Chudnow said justice will run its course, and the department will keep doing its job.
"We keep that trust of the public. That independent investigation and review by the State Attorney's office is all part of that trust factor."