COCOA, Fla. (FOX 35 Orlando) - An investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has determined that the actions of a Cocoa police officer were justified, when he fired multiple shots through the windshield of his car, striking an unarmed man.
The shooting happened about around 4:30 a.m. on the morning of December 11, 2018, along Forrest Avenue. Officer Xzevies Baez fired at 54-year-old Keith Seal, who was left with a non-threatening injuries. Body camera video of the incident shows Seal screaming in pain as Officer Baez got out of his car to approach him.
"Stay where you're at! Where's the gun? What was in your hand?" Officer Baez is heard asking Seal. "What was in your hand?"
"My cell phone!" Seal replied.
The police officer responded to the area after after Seal himself called 911, telling dispatchers he was concerned for a friend.
An internal investigation revealed that the officer thought Seal had a gun in his hand while walking toward him in an aggressive manner.
Seal told investigators he first approached the car, not even knowing it was an officer. He said he only had a cell phone and never raised his hand or threatened the officer. In the body camera video, Seal repeatedly apologizes to the officer.
"I'm sorry sir!" he said, to which Officer Baez replied, "I need you to stay still, I need you to stay still."
Baez said did not issue any verbal commands or use a taser, because Seal was too close.