JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Duval County judge denied a bond reduction this week for a Jacksonville woman accused of shooting a police officer while SWAT served a warrant in September.
Diamonds Ford, through her attorneys, told News4Jax this week she fired multiple times because she thought someone was robbing her home and coming to harm her. She believes that a 911 dispatch call proves she is innocent.
But a judge disagreed.
According to court documents, the judge said police did announce themselves multiple times using loudspeakers and it was so loud that neighbors heard it.
The judge added that given the seriousness of the crime, which could result in a life sentence, a reduced bond is denied.
“The warrant was served on September 28, 2020 just before 8:00 in the morning,” Circuit Judge Meredith Charbula wrote. “The day the warrant was served was a Monday; a work day. The raid was not conducted in the middle of the night or even during the early morning hours when one would expect the occupants to be sleeping. The police approached with multiple vehicles, some of which were loud.”
Although, the judge did acknowledge that some neighbors who were interviewed by police said they were asleep and didn’t hear anything at all before or during the raid.
Charbula also left the door open for a possible bond reduction down the road.
“If, during the discovery process, the Defendant discovers evidence that weakens the State’s claim that the Defendant knew that it was JSO outside her window before she fired and shot a SWAT detective multiple times, this Court will allow the Defendant to file a subsequent motion to reduce bond,” Charbula wrote.
Local attorney Gene Nichols, not affiliated with the case, believes this is promising for the defense.
“Remember, in the order, the court was very clear what she’s looking for so we will see if defense counsel can present that for a better chance to get this bond lowered,” Nichols said.
For now, Ford’s bond is set at $535,000.
Ford’s attorney told News4Jax earlier this week he disagrees with the reasoning.
“She has a limited criminal history,” her attorney said. “I don’t believe she’s a flight risk or a danger to the community at all. We understand the severity of these charges however we think there are a number of facts that warrants her a reasonable bond.”
In the audio of the 911 call obtained by News4Jax, Ford asks the dispatcher to “send somebody” because “someone is shooting.”
Investigators with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said Ford and her fiance’ Anthony Gantt were arrested after an officer was shot in September while police were serving a high-risk search warrant in a neighborhood off Moncrief Road. Additionally, both were charged with armed possession of marijuana with intent to sell.
Police say the officer was injured by a bullet that came from a gun Ford shot through a window.
Ford’s attorney shared the 911 audio with the judge in hopes of getting a lower bond. There is no body-camera footage from the officers that participated in the raid.
Ford’s attorney told News4Jax she wants to clear her name, she’s sorry for what happened and she is not a cop killer.
Ford said she and Gannt were sleeping when they were awakened by the sound of glass breaking.
“She had no idea it was law enforcement in her home. Once they made their announcement she complied,” said Stephen Kelly, Ford’s attorney.
Ford’s attorneys Wade Rolle and Kelly said she didn’t know the police were at her front door and she shot in self-defense and wants to come home to her family.
News4Jax Crime and Safety Expert Ken Jefferson listened to the call.
“It does not appear in my opinion that she knew that the police were out there or that she wanted to take a shot at the police or try to fend them off,” Jefferson said. “It’s clear based on the recording she just felt that someone was breaking into her house, protecting herself and her property of which she is allowed to do by law.”
After the 911 call, Ford and Gantt were arrested.
The JSO officer’s life was saved by his bullet-resistant vest.
Both Ford and her fiance' remain in jail as they wait for trial.
“She would send her remorse to the officer, would be happy that he is recovering, and send her well wishes to his family but I think she would want everyone to know she is not a cop killer that she respects law enforcement and at no time did she have any idea that the person she was firing shots at was indeed JSO,” Kelly said.
Kelly said she is not a flight risk and has never committed a felony.
News4Jax asked for a comment from JSO but we did not immediately get a response.