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Body camera footage depicts the fatal shooting of a Black airman by a Florida deputy at an apartment door

Chantemekki Fortson and Air Force senior airmen speaks about her son (Via David Starc/Shutterstock)

A Florida sheriff released body camera footage on Thursday showing a deputy outside an apartment door who immediately fired when it was opened by a Black man holding a handgun pointed downward, a shooting the family criticized as unjust.

Okaloosa County Sheriff Eric Aden shared the video after the family of U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Roger Fortson, along with their lawyers, held a press conference disputing the deputy’s claim of acting in self-defense.

Aden countered claims by civil rights attorney Ben Crump, representing Fortson’s family, who alleged the deputy had gone to the wrong apartment, covered the peephole, and failed to identify himself.

The video shows the deputy arriving at a Fort Walton Beach apartment building on May 3, talking to a woman outside who mentioned hearing an argument. He then took an elevator up and walked down an outdoor hallway.

Mother of Roger Fortson holds a photo of her son (Via David Starc/Shutterstock)

In the video, the deputy knocked on the door and moved aside, apparently out of sight. He shouted twice, “Sheriff’s office! Open the door!”

Fortson opened the door, holding what looked like a handgun pointed toward the ground. The deputy yelled, “Step back!” and fired shots. He then commanded, “Drop the gun! Drop the gun!”

“It’s over there,” Fortson replied. “Drop the gun!” the deputy repeated. “I don’t have it,” Fortson said, lying on the ground. The deputy called paramedics on his radio shortly afterward.

The sheriff’s office did not disclose the deputy’s identity or race. The deputy was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.

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