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Lawyer: Police-Involved-Shooting Victim's Autopsy Refutes JSO Story

Mary McIntyre

Jacksonville police shot 28-year-old D’AngeloStallworth this month at a Westside apartment complex. The Sheriff's Office continues to investigate, but Stallworth's family's attorney says a new autopsy points to a different narrative than what police have said happened that day. 

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office spokesman Tom Hackney has said Stallworth held a gun at an officer’s chest, and after wrestling with the officer he dropped the gun and ran away. Hackney said officers shot Stallworth only after he turned to face them again.

During an appearance on WJCT's"First Coast Connect," Stallworth family attorney Rick Block said, “The problem is that he wasn’t shot when he was fighting with police. He was shot when he was 40 feet away running from police.”

One of the justifications the sheriff’s office gave for the shooting was the officers feared for their lives.

But Block says the main question is how the police officers could have feared for their lives if Stallworth was running away. He points out, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office made that statement before actually talking to the officers involved.

“If he’s trying to get away from police officers, why would he turn at them unarmed?” Block asked.

The sheriff’s office has said investigators found a gun and 128 grams of marijuana at the scene after the shooting. But Block says Stallworth had no criminal history with drugs or guns.

“There were eyewitness statements that had refuted what JSO had released to the press,” Block said. “They did not see D'Angelo Stallworth with a gun. They did not see marijuana on the balcony.”

Block says the shooting highlights the need for police officers to wear body cameras. 

“Maybe the officers are justified. Wouldn’t it be nice to know on video?” he said. 

Ten officer-involved shootings happened in Jacksonville last year, and police have shot six people so far this year.

As the investigation continues to unfold, Block says he hopes to find more answers for the family. So far all gatherings and vigils on Stallworth’s behalf have been peaceful, and Block says the family would like for the peaceful response in Jacksonville to continue.

Listen to the full conversation with Rick Block on Thursday's episode of the "First Coast Connect" podcast on iTunes.