LAKELAND, Fla. - Loved ones of Aaron Henderson, along with Black Lives Matter Restoration Polk, gathered together, demanding justice. They say that Henderson’s tragic death was more than just an accident -- but rather negligence and something that could have been avoided.
The 40-year-old was a father to three sons. His family told FOX 13 that he was turning his life around when he was tragically killed on March 4 at the Polk County North Central Landfill.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said around 5 p.m., Henderson was inside a porta-potty when it was run over by a bulldozer as the driver, 56-year-old John Johnson, was attempting to park it for the evening. Henderson was crushed inside of it.
The report stated that the driver’s view was obstructed, causing him to be unable to see in front of him due to his bulldozer’s front blade being elevated three to four feet off the ground.
The sheriff's office said it appeared to be a "tragic industrial accident," but noted that the incident was still under investigation. However, the family believes this could have been avoided, and they’re asking for a thorough investigation into what happened at the landfill.
"At the end of the day, we don’t know what happened, but we just want to know the truth," said Lenard, Aaron’s brother. "We hope that they do a thorough investigation, you know what I’m saying, and we’ll come back with the truth. That’s all we want is the truth."
In a statement released by Black Lives Matter Restoration Polk, they stated in part:
"…the circumstances that led to Mr. Henderson’s death are highly suspicious and we are confident that the willful actions of the bulldozer operator were criminal and negligent.
We do not agree with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office that Mr. Henderson’s death was an excusable incident. OSHA has very strict heavy equipment safety guidelines and regulations that were not followed or enforced on the evening Mr. Henderson lost his life and we are confident that the evidence that was presented shows inexcusable gross negligence of the bulldozer operation."
The group held a press conference Tuesday with the Henderson family.
They’ve hired Benjamin Crump as their attorney, who has represented families in a number of high-profile cases, including the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Trayvon Martin. Henderson's family is asking for the driver of that bulldozer to be charged with criminally negligent homicide as they say this should have never happened.
The Polk County Sheriff's Office says at this point in their investigation, there is nothing to indicate any criminal wrongdoing.