ORLANDO, Fla. - The family of a man who was killed in a deputy-involved shooting outside of the Florida Mall is filing suit against the Orange County Sheriff's Office and the deputies involved, their attorneys announced during a news conference on Wednesday.
At the start of the news conference, a statement from the family of 22-year-old Salaythis Melvin was read. In it, they stated that they "thank everyone who has prayed for us and express their condolences through our time of grief and despair."
They went on to describe Melvin's murder as "senseless" and stated that they are "unable to bring ourselves to watch all of the footage and ask that you all respect our privacy as we prepare to lay our son to rest."
They added that at the time of his death "he was not a saint," but "due to the action of several Orange County Sheriff deputies, his life was cut way too short."
"If you really want to make sure our son’s death will not be in vain, promise us and the citizens of Orange County -- be that black, white, young, or old, baptist, or catholic -- be gunned down in the manner that our son was," the attorney concluded on. The family said if demonstrators choose to protest, "please do so peacefully and respectfully. We do not need any more losses of life."
On Tuesday evening, the Orange County Sheriff's Office released body camera videos from the fatal shooting outside the Florida Mall.
The incident happened on August 7th. The Sheriff’s Office initially said they were looking for a man who was wanted for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and who was also a person of interest in a shooting.
Investigators said when they made contact with the wanted man, Melvin, who was with the group, took off. Melvin was said to have a stolen gun on him, according to the affidavit.
In one of the body camera videos, you can see a deputy driving through the parking lot. Through his windshield, a man is sprinting away and then falls to the ground. That was the moment deputies shot and killed 22-year-old Salaythis Melvin.
In the immediate aftermath, they drew their guns and surrounded him. Once they believed he was secure, they rendered aid and realized that he had been shot in the back.
The family's attorneys, who are with the Haynes and Laurent firm, argued that Melvin was not a threat while running quickly away and should not have been shot. They also argued that the deputy who fired should be fired and charged, as he has not been.
"It's clear that Melvin was not a threat. It's clear that he was just running. He was just trying to get away. He was essentially mauled down. He was shot. He was shot in the back," they explained. "If they wanted to get Mr. Melvin, they could have gotten Mr. Melvin without anyone losing their life that day."
They also said that the deputy who fired did not identify himself and was not wearing uniform showing he was deputy until after Melvin was already shot. He also did not administrate CPR as other deputies did and he shot from so far away -- they claim about 30 to 35 yards way -- that he had no blood on him.
"When you shot him, he was just a black man who had a gun and was running away from y'all," one of the two attorneys said. He explained that at the time of seeing Melvin, the deputy did not if he had committed any crime. He did not know about the stolen firearm until after Melvin was already shot, he argued. "They should not have tried to detain him."
The attorneys demanded change from Orange County Sheriff John Mina as well, stating that they "would have liked to hear that this was a bad shooting and this deputy has been fired."
They demanded that no one is shot in the back ever again, stating that "this is not deer season. We're not shooting people in the back period. No exception."
They also want people suspended without pay as soon as they shoot anyone, suggesting it would "make them think twice before pulling the trigger."
"Time for you to man up. Stop all the talking. Let's see some real change. Or get out of the position," they said. "If he values life, but these people [the deputies in the body camera video] don't, he needs to fire them."
They questioned Mina, stating "are you going to be a politician or are you going to be our Sheriff?"
The attorneys also expressed concern that instead of quickly rendering aid after Melvin had been shot, several deputies cursed and demeaned him. They even said that one of the deputies possibly called him the "n-word."
The attorneys announced that the family is filing a civil suit against the deputies involved and the Orange County Sheriff's Office for Melvin's death.
In addition, they are seeking additional footage. They expressed concern that body camera footage of the deputy who fired has not yet been shared and they have not been given a reason as to why. They claim a lot of footage is missing and that the affidavit about the incident is not accurate.
"He may fool the general public. If you want to bring any value to this man's death, do not let Sheriff Mina off the hook" the attorneys said. "I won't stop until Mr. Mina makes some changes."
This is one of several controversial shootings involving law enforcement of 2020. The attorneys even compared Melvin's death to Rayshard Brooks' passing in Atlanta. Except they described this case as worse because the Atlanta officer who fired has been charged and fired, while the Orange County deputy has not.
Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.