The Orlando Police Department has released body camera video from three officers that were involved in the fatal shooting of a 26-year-old father in downtown Orlando.
On Wednesday, OPD released video of the fatal officer-involved shooting of Derek Diaz, which took place near the intersection of N. Orange Avenue and Jefferson Street in the early morning hours of Monday, July 3.
In the video, officers approach Diaz while he is seated in his car listening to music. An officer sees Diaz holding drug paraphernalia and commands him to turn it over.
Diaz hands over the items and then places his hand on the steering wheel. The officer tells Diaz not to move and, a few seconds later, opens the door to the vehicle.
As the door is opened, Diaz moves to open his center console, and is told again by the officer to place his hands on the steering wheel. The officer shouts once more for Diaz to put his hands on the steering wheel before a shot can be heard from a firearm.
In a statement issued Wednesday, OPD Chief Eric Smith indicated that the intersection where the fatal shooting took place has been the seen of “431 incidents in the last 18 months.”
After Diaz was shot, police say he threw an item from his vehicle that later tested positive for narcotics.
“We understand the need for answers. Maintaining the integrity of the investigation process is also needed so that the facts are provided fairly and transparently,” said Smith.
Smith says the family of Diaz was shown the body camera footage this morning before it was made public.
In a statement issued through various social media outlets last week, Yaneri Diaz, who is Derek’s mother, accused police of being “trigger happy,” suggesting they are on “high alert” due to recent changes in Florida.
“My son died alone at the hospital. Derek did not have a weapon on him, he has never owned or possessed a firearm in his life,” reads a statement issued by Yaneri Diaz, the mother of Diaz. “Derek is yet another victim of police brutality and poor police training.”
In a press conference just hours after the incident on Monday, July 3, Smith indicated that officers were proactively patrolling that area on account of it being a “hotspot for criminal activity.” Smith says officers have seized multiple guns over the last several months in that area and had established probable cause for Diaz, who they believed was involved in drug activity.
The investigation has been passed along to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, according to Smith. On Wednesday, officials identified the officer who shot Diaz as Jose Velez, who has been with the Orlando Police Department for three years.
Diaz leaves behind a 5-year-old daughter and a younger brother, according to his mother.
“My heart is torn apart; I lost my best friend, my everything, my entire world in the hands of people that are supposed to protect us, not kill innocent people,” said Ms. Diaz.
A records search through Orange, Seminole, Osceola, and Lake county court databases showed no criminal history for Diaz, who turned 26 years old in February.
To contribute to Derek Diaz’s funeral costs, visit the GoFundMe that has been established in his name.