By Desiree Stennett
DeLand, Fla. — In the moments before his death, Marlon Brown was sprinting through a vegetable garden in a residential area and DeLand police with sirens blaring were not far behind.
As Brown neared a fence that enclosed a backyard, he was cornered. Two police officers stopped. But as shown in a video released by Brown's family on Wednesday, rookie Officer James Harris, third in line in the chase, kept going.
In the graphic video, Brown, 38, tripped then threw his hands in the air and turned to face police a moment before he was struck by the cruiser on May 8.
That video was enough to convince DeLand Police Chief William Ridgway that Harris should be fired immediately.
"On May 31st I was shown the video of the incident," Ridgway said in an email statement. "I terminated the probationary employment status of Officer Harris on that same day."
Last week, a grand jury found that Harris should not face criminal charges.
"We feel very betrayed by our criminal justice system," said Brown's ex-wife, Krystal Brown at a news conference Wednesday.
She spoke to media along with her attorney, Benjamin Crump, who also represented the family of Trayvon Martin, who was shot and killed by George Zimmerman in Sanford in 2012.
The city of DeLand reached a $550,000 settlement with the Browns but did not admit to any wrongdoing in the deadly chase that began with a traffic stop for a suspected seat belt violation.
Now, they want an independent investigation and review of the evidence. The Brown family hopes, despite the grand jury denial, that vehicular manslaughter charges will be filed against Harris.
"This video is important," Krystal Brown said. "It's the truth."
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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