A white Florida deputy seriously injured an unarmed 28-year-old black man who had his hands up early Monday, according to witnesses.
Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings called for calm after news of the incident reached the public.
“I ask everyone to not rush to judgment and allow the investigation to be completed,” Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said at a news conference in Orlando.
Demings, who himself is African American and was surrounded by six religious leaders from the black community, said investigators have found some eyewitness accounts that conflict with that of the officer involved.
Witnesses at the apartment complex said that the men had their hands up when the deputy opened fire, according to local media reports.
Cities across the United States have seen major protests in recent days after grand juries declined to indict anyone in the deaths of two unarmed black men at the hands of white police officers in New York and Ferguson, Missouri.
After locating a stolen car at an apartment complex just after midnight on Monday, Sergeant Robert McCarthy fired three shots, one of which hit Cedric Bartee.
Demings said Bartee failed to comply with McCarthy’s commands and “made extensive furtive movements,” making the deputy fear for his safety.
Bartee was listing in stable but critical condition after undergoing surgery. A second man in the vehicle was arrested unharmed.
The shooting comes just days after a Latino man was fatally wounded in a car by an Orlando detective investigating a burglary. Police said the detective opened fired after he saw Alejandro Noel Cordero had a gun.
On Monday Demings said he was trying to be transparent in holding the press conference “because of the backdrop of everything happening in the country at this time.” He added: “It’s concerning to me” how the public might react.
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