JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - When a fight over a parking space at the Riverside Publix grocery store last month got heated, one man says an off-duty police officer hit him with his car and then pulled a gun.
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is investigating even though the officer denies doing anything on purpose.
John Study said what was supposed to be a friendly afternoon with relatives at the strip mall near Five Points got hostile. They were looking for parking in the crowded lot, and when got out and stood in an open space until they could pull the car around, they said 46-year-old Corinthian Morgan tried to pull in.
Morgan told the 20-year-old Study he couldn't save the spot, but Study stood his ground. Study then says the man backed his car into him, injuring his leg. Study claims Morgan then stopped, pulled out a handgun and pointing it toward him.
"He without a doubt pointed it at me," Study said. "I gave up. I put my hands up and walked back like as soon as I could."
Records show the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office sent several officers to investigate, and both Study and Morgan were interviewed. Morgan told them he saw Study move away and that's why he backed into the spot. He also told detectives that Study yelled racial slurs at him.
The officer said he did have a gun on him, but he insisted he never pointed it at Study.
"Morgan advised as he traveled to the shopping center, his gun was sitting on top of his backpack which was in his passenger seat," an officer wrote in the incident report. Morgan told the officer "he then opened his car door and then he placed the gun in his backpack."
Officers reported that Morgan's wife brought the black backpack with the man's Glock handgun inside to them.
"My client never said anything derogatory toward this gentleman. My client's story has been consistent," said Study's attorney, T.C. Roberts. "I've heard it five or 10 times now, and it's the same story."
Roberts said Morgan should face charges for what he did.
"There are two possibilities. One would be aggravated battery with the vehicle. It's a deadly weapon according to Florida law. And the aggravated assault with a deadly weapon would be the gun," Roberts said.
Both Study and Roberts said it took a long time to get any information about the investigation from police. They said they weren't given the name of the officer involved until weeks later and the 911 call Study made still hasn't been released.
Study said he's going to stand for what's right, adding that no one should get special treatment.
"How does somebody with a badge get to be over on the law?" Study told Channel 4. "You know, they're here to enforce it but also follow it."
John Study told Channel 4 Monday night that he missed a week of work and just got off crutches from the incident a few days ago. Study said he still feels pain in his right knee.
"He's like 'No, I don't care. I don't care about your family. There's not going to be any parking spot holding. I don't think so.' He gets back in his car puts it in reverse, I mean he just guns it, hits me. At this time I slapped my hands on his trunk I said you just hit me with your vehicle," said Study.
Study told Channel 4 the situation continued to get worse between he and Morgan.
"As I am going to get the last number of the tag I notice he gets out of his car, he turns to his bag and super quick, reaches into his bag pulls out a gun. I say, 'You've got a gun all right man. You got it.' He says, 'Get the f away from my car.' I said, 'Sir, there's no need to be ignorant about this.' He says, 'Oh, you're gonna call me the n word? You're gonna call me the n word?' I say, 'I didn't say that.' You know, I'm walking back toward my family's car, he's following me back to my car saying, 'I'll show what it means say it one more time, I'll show what one is.' Just yelling," explained Study.
According to records, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office sent several officers to investigate the situation.
Study said that one of the officers even told him the only reason Morgan wasn't arrested is because he's a police officer.
"Officer even told me, to my face, 'Sir, the only reason this gentleman is not in the back of my car right now is because he's an officer of the law,'" said Study. "Exact words. I'm quoting exactly what he said. I mean, how does that work? How does somebody with a badge get to get over on the law?"
The State Attorney's Office said there wasn't enough physical evidence or independent witnesses to press charges against Morgan.
Detectives said there no surveillance cameras recorded the alleged altercation.
JSO's internal affairs investigation is not complete. A spokeswoman said the agency doesn't comment on these types of investigations when they are still active.
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