Lawyers for the man killed last year by Osceola County deputy sheriffs as he tried to leave the scene of an alleged shoplifting filed a lawsuit against the Sheriff’s Office, citing “excessive, unreasonable and unnecessary force.”

The pending federal lawsuit, naming Sheriff Marcos Lopez, comes a year later Jayden Baez, 20, was shot and killed by officers Christopher Koffinas and Ramy Yacoub, who for the first time since the incident have been publicly named. Mark NeJame and Albert Yonfa, the attorneys representing the Baez family and filing the complaint, will speak to reporters at 2:30 p.m.

Jay Jarrod of NeJame Law, who issued a press release announcing the lawsuit, also claimed that the Orange-Osceola State Attorney’s Office is investigating the Sheriff’s Office for its handling of the shooting. NeJame and Yonfa have previously criticized OCSO for trying to cover up, including falsifying reports.

The State’s Attorney’s Office has not responded to questions seeking to confirm its investigation into the Sheriff’s Office.

“There has been a lack of transparency from Sheriff Lopez and others within his department,” Jarrod said. “Any other investigations that may be going on are for others to address.”

In April 2022, agents in unmarked vehicles participating in a nearby training exercise gathered in the car driven by Baez after reports of shoplifting involving pizza and approximately $46 worth of collectible cards. they opened fire when Báez tried to flee, killing Báez and wounding two passengers. Charges against the two passengers for the alleged shoplifting were later dropped.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, charged with investigating the shooting, filed its report with the State’s Attorney’s Office months later, but State’s Attorney Monique Worrell has yet to issue a decision regarding the charges. Previous attempts to obtain the FDLE investigative file and Baez’s autopsy report have been denied.

“All of the victims in this case support the efforts of State’s Attorney Monique Worrell in her efforts to seek justice for them, which they believe is essential to getting to the truth about their lawsuit,” Jarrod said in the statement. “They are all looking forward to their day in court so that the full truth comes out and is no longer hidden.”

But lawyers for the Baez family have accused the Sheriff’s Office of covering up the events leading up to and following the shooting, pointing to reports filed on the same day at the same time more than a week after it occurred. Experts have criticized the tactics of the deputies in the shooting, calling it a “tactical nightmare” to use force in response to shoplifting.

López has deflected criticism from his deputies in the incident and told a town meeting that he did not plan to change procedures after the shooting and a Fire set by a deputy at a Wawa gas station in Orlando while pursuing a suspect that February.

“We are here to do a job. Unfortunately, sometimes the results aren’t as pretty as people want to see them. However, we will continue to do our job unless someone considers it wrong or unconstitutional,” Lopez said at the time. “We are not going to change any of our protocols or any of our tactics.”

The Sheriff’s Office has not responded to an email seeking comment on the pending lawsuit.


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