Florida Police Pursue Man After Being Spotted Driving Without Seatbelt . . . Man Flees On Foot And Is Run Over By Police Cruiser

_h353_w628_m6_otrue_lfalseOfficer James Harris in DeLand, Florida has been fired after he ran over a man who was fleeing police. Marlon Robert Brown, 38, was being pulled over for a seatbelt violation when he fled. He won’t do that again. The video shows Harris pursuing Brown in his car and when Brown trips, running over the man.

Police initially tried to pull over Brown but backed off when he entered DeLand. The DeLand police were notified that the seatbelt-less suspect had entered their jurisdiction. A chase ensured with multiple cars in pursuit. Harris went around officers to continue to pursue Brown in the underbrush.

A grand jury declined to charge Harris with vehicular manslaughter.

Brown has a long criminal record with 18 misdemeanor charges, five felony charges, and three felony convictions. These include grand theft, battery, forgery and other crimes. However, the specific cause of this confrontation was a seatbelt violation, which raises concerns over a “pretext stop.” These pretextual stops have been more common after the Supreme Court ruled that it would not question the motivation of such stops. Many civil libertarians condemned the Supreme Court in its decision in Whren v. United States, 517 U.S. 806 (1996), where it refused to consider whether a stop was clearly based on a pretext in judging the constitutionality of the later search. We have seen abusive searches in such stops in past cases.

Making the case more curious is that Volusia County Medical Examiner Marie Herrmann found that the car did not actually hit Brown but rolled over him causing accidental mechanical asphyxia. She ruled that it was an accident. However, the family claims that an assistant medical examiner, Dr. Shiping Bao, told them that he determined the killing was a “traumatic homicide” but was overruled by his boss, Herrmann. Herrmann later fired Bao.

The family received $550,000 from the city of DeLand for Marlon Brown’s death. The family’s attorney (who was involved with the Trayvon Martin case), Benjamin Crump, insists that “Marlon Brown was executed in a vegetable garden.” The officer clearly acted improperly in the case, but would criminal charges have been warranted as opposed to termination. He drove what seems to be a short distance beyond the other cruiser. Yet, he continues at a relatively high rate of speed over open ground in close pursuit. That was clearly reckless and it is worth noting that many officers do not hesitate to arrest citizens for such reckless driving. Is that enough for criminal charges? The officer can claim that he was not pursuing Brown for the seatbelt violation but the car chase through two jurisdictions. Do you think employment termination is sufficient punishment in this case?

Source: MSN

15 thoughts on “Florida Police Pursue Man After Being Spotted Driving Without Seatbelt . . . Man Flees On Foot And Is Run Over By Police Cruiser”

  1. seeing that there are only 14 or so responses prior to this writing one can infer either:
    a) Sir Turley’s blog is caput
    b) Sir Turley’s blog is almost as hard to log on to as the ACA rollout.
    c) Hardly anyone in this readership demographic really gives a crap about the circumstances of this person’s demise.

    A sad reflection upon us all. Boo-frickin-hoo.

  2. So failure to wear a seat belt gets you run over, what happens if you run a stop sign? Do they shot you?

    If this were a civilian it vehicular manslaughter, if your a cop it’s a non event…

  3. Looks like murder to me. He should have riding back to the station in the backseat of the police car, not the front.

  4. “Bad boys, bad boys,..what you gonna do when they come for you.”


    bad boy, bad boys, whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do when they run over you.

    funny thing about the florida seatbelt law. they will pull you over if they don’t see the shoulder strap but you don’t legally have to wear the shoulder strap, you can place the strap behind you and only wear the lap belt.

    and yes i know that’s not as safe, but for medical reasons some don’t wear the shoulder strap.

  5. i remember this story and if memory serves me right the grand jury were shown the video but they were shown the video with hermannn doing the graphing of the video aka timeline that proves at least in her addled mind that it was a accident and not homicide.. memory also tells me there is a scandal happening behind scenes concerning hermannn and a relative of the cop being involved.. in what? i do not remember that but it was one of those mason stories.. ex the truth of a story told today, yet entirely changed up by the afternoon… and then disappeared all together

    1. RobinH45 wrote: “proves at least in her addled mind that it was a accident and not homicide.”

      At the very least, it was an accident caused by negligence that resulted in a death. It is manslaughter. And because the person causing the death is a police officer, he is more culpable. We expect more from him because of his training.

  6. A grand jury declined to charge Harris with vehicular manslaughter.

    Did they watch the dash cam video?

  7. The officer did not appear to be too distraught. The article did not mention if his LEO credential was forfeited. ( He just goes someone else to work)

  8. If the roles were reversed the state would be charging first-degree murder and seeking the death penalty. I guess the lives of “civilians” just aren’t as valuable…

  9. If the cause of death was asphyxia, the police might have been able to save the man from death by backing up the car. They might have even had enough time to jack up the vehicle and pull the man out.

  10. Do you think termination is sufficient punishment in this case?” – JT

    Executing the cop would be a bit harsh. What AY said.

  11. Looks like goose gander…. I would support manslaughter ….. If you did it to a cop they’d charge you with felony murder…..

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