Federal Lawsuit Filed After Sheriff Kills Wrong Man in Florida

The parents and girlfriend of Andrew Lee Scott, a Leesburg man shot to death last summer by a Lake County, Florida deputy sheriff, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Lake Sheriff’s Office.

The lawsuit is seeking damages for excessive force in the death of Scott, a 26-year-old pizza deliveryman, who was fatally shot by a Lake County deputy sheriff who was searching for a different man.

Lake County sheriff’s deputies were searching for a man named Jonathan Brown. After receiving reports that Brown was spotted at the Blueberry Hills Apartment complex, officers arrived at 1:30 am to find his motorcycle parked near Andrew Lee Scott’s front door.

When the police allegedly “banged” on the wrong door, Andrew Lee Scott answered the door, holding a gun.

“When we knocked on the door, the door opened and the occupant of that apartment was pointing a gun at deputies and that’s when we opened fire and killed him,” said Lt. John Herrell. After an hour and a half, deputies realized that they shot the wrong man.

Despite the fact that deputies never identified themselves as law enforcement officers, Herrell blamed the incident on Scott, saying, “the bottom line is, you point a gun at a deputy sheriff or police officer, you’re going to get shot.”

Brown, an attempted murder suspect and former police officer, was later found at another apartment complex. He and a second suspect were arrested and booked into the Lake County jail.

Some believe that the controversial shooting, which a few news outlets tried to tone down by over-emphasizing the “drugs, scales, pipes and baggies” that were found in Scott’s home (according to police) became even more so with the fact that police booked Brown on attempted murder only after they fatally shot Scott.

WFTV obtained recordings of dozens of conversations between police and deputies from that night. WFTV reported that Brown was not originally wanted for attempted murder. The charges were upgraded after Lake County deputies shot and killed Scott.

“We’re out with a battery at Marietta,” said an officer during a call with Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Gary Borders said that because of safety reasons, the deputies did not announce who they were.

When WFTV mentioned to Borders that Scott’s friends resented the mentioning of drugs being in the apartment, Borders said that the sheriff’s office never claimed Scott was a drug dealer and they were just reporting the facts when asked what was found inside the apartment.

Borders stated that the motorcycle found in the parking lot near Scott’s apartment was hot and had dirt on it that matched dirt from a footprint, which was leading to Scott’s door.

WFTV listened to 90 dispatch transmissions that show authorities were after Brown and another man, following a street fight where Brown allegedly held a cinder block over the victim in a threatening way, but he never dropped it and not once before the deadly shooting did authorities mention anything about attempted murder.

“He’s going to be a suspect in an aggravated assault that occurred, possibly more,” said a Leesburg Police Department dispatcher.

“I am looking at aggravated battery, um, or at least aggravated assault,” said a Leesburg police officer to Leesburg police dispatch.

WFTV legal analyst, Bill Sheaffer, said that it appeared authorities inflated the charges to justify what happened.

It is unclear why the sheriffs did not identify themselves when they came to Scott’s door at 1:30 am. Do you think that if they had identified themselves, this could have been avoided?

Feel free to comment on this blog post. You can contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).

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