A Jacksonville sheriff’s officer who shot an unarmed black man last year is back on patrol before the criminal investigation of the shooting is finished and his administrative review has begun.
Officer Tyler Landreville is assigned to patrol in Zone 3, which covers southeast Jacksonville, according to his Sheriff’s Office personnel file. The document is unclear about when Landreville returned to patrol duties.
The Sheriff’s Office declined to provide a list of the officer’s recent assignments. It instructed the Times-Union to request time sheets from specific days to ascertain that information.
Lt. Chris Brown of the department’s Professional Oversight Unit said the majority of officers involved in shootings return to their prior assignments or something resembling them before criminal investigations are concluded by prosecutors. The Sheriff’s Office does not begin its administrative review until prosecutors make their decision.
The State Attorney’s Office is still determining whether to file criminal charges against Landreville in the May 22, 2016, shooting of Vernell Bing Jr., 22, who crashed a stolen car into the officer’s cruiser just before he was shot.
“Officer Landreville’s employment status has no bearing on our review of the facts,” said David Chapman, the State Attorney’s communications director.
In the wake of the shooting, witnesses reported that Bing appeared to be disoriented and limping away from the crash when he was shot. The Sheriff’s Office said Bing failed to comply with Landreville’s commands, and that the officer fired five shots, hitting Bing once in the side of the head. The shooting death sparked protests that were monitored by the Sheriff’s Office using social media surveillance software.
Per national guidelines, officers take a few days to a week of administrative leave immediately following the shooting, Brown said. Once that officers is cleared for regular duty, a process that involves psychological evaluation, the sheriff decides his or her next assignment, Brown said.
One-hundred-twenty-nine people — 100 of them black — have been shot by Jacksonville sheriff’s officers since 2007, according to a Times-Union police shootings database. Sixty nine of those shootings were fatal.
Seth Stoughton, a former Tallahassee law enforcement officer turned University of South Carolina law professor who specializes in policing, said no state law governs how law enforcement agencies should re-introduce to the street officers under investigation in police shootings.
Some agencies wait until all criminal and administrative investigations are complete, Stoughton said, while others — including some in South Florida — allow officers back on patrol within three or four days.
Jacksonville’s situation is different than many other parts of the country in that the Sheriff’s Office investigates its own police shootings, rather than outsourcing them to an independent agency, such the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Other agencies, such as the Orlando Police Department and the Miami-Dade County Sheriff’s Office, use the FDLE to ensure shooting reviews are independent from the officer’s employer.
The Bing shooting is especially unique in that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has announced its intent to eventually look at the shooting case for civil rights violations, once the criminal matter is concluded.
Generally, police shooting investigations in Jacksonville take twice as long as they once did, according to a Times-Union data analysis. The analysis found that the delays could be caused by regime change at the State Attorney’s Office, where Melissa Nelson replaced Angela Corey as the city’s top prosecutor in January.
It’s unlikely that the State Attorney’s Office is sharing any information with the Sheriff’s Office about its investigation, Stoughton said.
“That kind of backdoor information gathering, it would be really problematic,” Stoughton said.
Ben Conarck: (904) 359-4103
You can read the original TU article here.