Benjamin Crump addresses manslaughter charge against Titusville police officer in shooting of James Lowery

Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, the lawyer representing the family of a man shot and killed by a Titusville police officer last year, held a news conference on Friday to discuss recent action taken against that officer.  

Joshua Payne will be prosecuted on a manslaughter charge in the death of James Lowery, 40, shot and killed after a foot pursuit on Dec. 26, 2021. Payne turned himself in this week and was booked into the Brevard County Jail on Wednesday.

Crump said he is demanding to see the body camera video of the shooting death of Lowery. Standing beside Crump during the news conference was Lowery's mother,  Linda Lowery Johnson, who shed tears as she recalled the last time she saw her son on Christmas Day in 2021.  The next day, Lowrey was dead.

"I want equal justice for my son and today is the first time we’ve heard something from the police department about the accident with my son," she said.

Lowery was shot in the back of the head by Payne, who had responded to a domestic dispute call on Gayle Avenue. An investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement concluded that Payne mistakenly thought Lowery was the suspect in that domestic dispute. Lowery ran off and Payne chased him. Payne said he fired at Lowery during a struggle.

No weapons were found on Lowery or near him, according to the report. Payne was placed on unpaid suspension after the incident.

The State Attorney’s Office for Brevard and Seminole counties on Wednesday issued the manslaughter charge stemming from an internal investigation by the Titusville Police Department’s Professional Standards Division.

Crump and co-counsel Natalie Jackson filed a lawsuit against the Titusville Police Department earlier this year on behalf of Lowery's family. Crump’s team thanked investigators during Friday's news conference, but they are seeking more answers.

"We acknowledge the district attorney for doing his job and saying that it’s going to be about equal justice and that the police officer is not gonna be above the law just because he has a gun and a badge," Crump said. "Most importantly, we understand and acknowledge this is just the first step what we want is a conviction."

Crump and his team said they still have not seen any evidence from the incident that day outside of what has been in the news.  They want more transparency on their way to seeking justice.