Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Man's Family Wants Cops to Face Charges; They Say the Victim of a January Police Shooting Was Right to Defend His Property

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Man's Family Wants Cops to Face Charges; They Say the Victim of a January Police Shooting Was Right to Defend His Property

Article excerpt

Byline: BRIDGET MURPHY

If anyone besides police had fatally shot 80-year-old Issac Singletary on his own Jacksonville property, they'd be charged with murder and in jail awaiting justice, his family said Friday morning.

Standing on the lawn of the Westmont Street property where police fired four shots that killed Singletary six months ago during an undercover drug operation, some local leaders and the family's lawyers demanded police officers be held criminally accountable.

Singletary came outside on Jan. 27 with a gun to tell two undercover detectives he mistook for drug dealers to get off his property. Police said the shooting started after police said he ignored orders to drop his weapon.

Singletary's action was something "which the law said he had every right to do," lawyer Benjamin Crump said Friday, standing with Singletary's nephew Gary Evans, niece Sheree Bea, local NAACP President Isaiah Rumlin and state Sen. Tony Hill.

"They made a mistake. They shot an innocent man and now they don't want to be accountable for it," Evans said.

Crump said Singletary's autopsy report shows police shot the man four times, including once in the back, something else that makes the family believe they used excessive force.

In April, State Attorney Harry Shorstein cleared police of any criminal wrongdoing in the case, although he said he found some aspects of it troubling. He found that two undercover detectives didn't identify themselves as police before one of them shot the man.

A police official also changed stories about whether he believed Singletary or a detective fired first, Shorstein said the investigation showed. But despite some inconsistencies in testimony, police actions were justified since the 80-year-old man was an armed civilian who refused orders to drop his gun, the state attorney concluded.

Shorstein discounted the testimony of a convicted drug dealer who said police fired first, saying he couldn't be considered "particularly credible. …

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