JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The lawyer representing the family of a 62-year-old man struck and killed by a Jacksonville police officer on University Boulevard South in May has obtained new evidence in the case, including surveillance video showing the accident.
Blane Land was leaving the Burger King and walked across the street outside of a crosswalk just after 9 p.m. when he was hit by a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office cruiser driven by Officer Tim James.
James said he was responding to a call, but did not have his emergency lights or siren on. The JSO's initial public statement on Land's death said he was potentially suicidal, and confused Land with another person who crossed the street a few seconds before Land stepped off the curb.
The video obtained from a nearby business shows the first man crossing University in the same area moments before an ambulance passed. The video shows Blane Land entering the street and being struck by James' cruiser. The impact threw him up and over the patrol car.
James was not charged with the accident, but has since been arrested in connection the beating of a handcuffed, teenage suspect in the back seat of a patrol car.
Attorney John Phillips concedes that Land (pictured, left) was jaywalking, but said the officer never slowed down to even show that he was aware he had just hit a pedestrian.
"I concede that, just like the person in front of him, Mr. Land walked in front of ... not at a crosswalk. And I'll concede that he was wearing dark clothing at night. Now the other side of that coin is he was a large 6 foot 5, 6 foot 6 white guy. Tim James had his (headlights) lights on," Phillips said. "I don't see Tim James so much as slow down or swerve."
The video isn't the only evidence Phillips has collected on James. He's currently sorting through a mountain of evidence not only on this case, but on the officer's past with JSO, including investigations by Internal Affairs.
Phillips is also representing 17-year-old Elias Campos, the teen whose brutality complaint led to James' arrest. James said he reacted when Campos spit on him.
James was removed from his patrol duties while that case is prosecuted.
After Phillips took this case, he requested a lot of information from Sheriff's Office on the background of James and other officers. The JSO gave him a bill for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
He revised his request and has paid JSO about $2,000 for the evidence he has received so far.
Asked for a response, Lt. Chris Brown, with JSO’s Professional Oversight Unit, said the Sheriff's Office cannot comment on the case because it is currently under litigation.
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