The state attorney’s office has ruled the fatal shooting of Vernell Bing Jr. last year by Officer Tyler Landreville of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office was justified.
Bing was shot once after he rammed his car into Landreville’s cruiser during a police chase, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said.
Bing was being chased because he was in a car involved in a previous shooting. After the crash at 9th and Liberty streets, Bing, who was unarmed, got out of the car and Landreville ordered him to stop, firing his weapon five times and hitting Bing once in the head.
Bing’s family has been notified by authorities that the shooting was ruled justifiable.
“We were not surprised,” the family’s attorneys told our News4Jax partner.
When investigators first began looking into the shooting there were eye-witnesses who said the officer was behind Bing when he pulled the trigger.
“He shot him in the back, unarmed. (He) fell to the ground after the first shot. Once he falls to the ground, he continues to open fire on this man. It looks like he shot him in the head and in the back three or four more times,” witness Eric Coleman said in a social media post.
The official report released by the State’s Attorney Office contradicts Coleman's claim.
According to the report, Landreville told investigators that right after Bing crashed his car, he exited the vehicle and was told to stop. He said Bing turned and reached for waistband when he shot him.
In June 2016, Sheriff Mike Williams asked the FBI to review the case.
Bing’s family lawyer said that as far as he can tell, “there’s been no investigation by the Justice Department.”
The state attorney’s office released a 38-page report containing details into what police said led to the Bing’s shooting. It also contained dashcam video and hundreds of evidence photos.
News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said the case was never as cut and dried as it may have appeared, which is why it took more than a year to decide the shooting was justified.
Smith said an administration change may have also slowed down the investigation.
“You had (State Attorney) Melissa Nelson coming in last year with a new administration, so that, I’m sure, slowed down the process,” Smith said.
Nelson issued the following statement:
“We have conducted a thorough review of this shooting incident, and determined the shooting was justified under applicable Florida law.”
Meanwhile, the attorney for Bing’s family said he’s not ready to make any comment until he has fully read the report.
Because the outcome of this investigation comes on the heels of another similar case in St. Louis, where a white officer who was recently acquitted of killing a black man, police are on standby to handle any protests.
That case has sparked violent protest and now our crime and safety analyst is advising people read the official report before doing something rash.
“They just released information saying that Mr. Bing was shot from the front. He was not shot in the back. I think it’s important for everyone just to read to find out why they made this decision and not to react out in emotion.”