JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Loved ones of a man shot and killed by Jacksonville police last week at an Argyle Forest hotel and the family’s attorney spoke out Tuesday, demanding a transparent investigation and the release of all video of the incident that exists.
Attorney Marwan Porter and loved ones said at a news conference that Michael Hughes, 32, was a father of two little boys and a good person who had a mental illness.
According to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, Hughes was fatally shot March 30 by Officer J. H. Wing at the Quality Inn on Youngerman Circle after Hughes got control of the officer’s Taser and stunned him.
The Sheriff’s Office said both Wing and another officer who responded to the hotel were wearing body camera video. Porter also said his understanding is that in addition to the body cameras, there were dashboard cameras and hotel surveillance, so that’s why he and the family are calling for the release of all footage.
There was a domestic dispute between Hughes and his girlfriend at the hotel on March 30, and, according to JSO Chief of Investigations T.K. Waters, officers were called to the hotel several times, the first time around 6:30 a.m. and the last time shortly after 12:30 p.m.
That time, according to Waters, Hughes had forced his way back into the room after he had left earlier, and when two officers arrived, Hughes refused to leave. Waters said the officers tried to take Hughes into custody and there was a more than 60-second fight with one of the officers, during which time Hughes yelled he was going to kill him. Hughes’ girlfriend, Dawn Johnson, disputed at Tuesday’s news conference that Hughes yelled, “I’m gonna kill you, I’m gonna kill you.”
According to Waters, Hughes got control of Wing’s Taser and stunned him once and then the officer fired several shots. Hughes lunged at the officer again, and the officer fired several more shots, Waters said.
When Hughes collapsed, Waters said, the officer handcuffed him and performed CPR until rescue personnel arrived and determined that he was dead.
“Right now, I don’t know how to deal with anything. It wasn’t supposed to go that way. It never was supposed to go that way. I miss him so much,” Hughes’ girlfriend said. “We had our issues, we argued, things were frustrating, but I loved that man, and he loved me.”
Hughes’ father, Timothy Hughes, said his eldest son was shot in the head, chest, stomach and buttocks.
“Why did the police take the footage from the motels and the backup footage from the motels? I want to see them. I want to see what they did to my son,” he said. “I’d also like to know why the police have two Tasers, two pepper sprays and two batons, but they couldn’t arrest one Black man with no violence and no weapon. I’d like to know why they couldn’t arrest one Black man, having all those things under their arsenal. These are things I would like to know, and I like to see the footage by my son was alive, to the time he was alive to the time he laid on the ground.”
Johnson demanded to know “why did they have to shoot him so many times?”
“I feel guilty because I called the police for help,” she said.
Porter insisted Hughes was not a violent man, but “got into an argument with his girlfriend, and now he’s dead.” Porter said a nonviolent domestic dispute “should not be a death sentence.”
The family’s lawyer said that if all the evidence is released and it appears police acted legally, the family will accept this, but if they find the officers acted inappropriately, they will pursue justice in the courts.
Wing, who has been with JSO for two years, suffered minor injuries in the incident. He was placed on administrative leave during the investigation, which is standard procedure. The second officer did not fire his weapon.
JSO sent News4Jax the following statement in regards to Tuesday’s news conference:
“As you are aware, Chief Waters shared the available information shortly after the incident. This continues to be an active investigation, both within JSO and externally through the State Attorney’s Office. There has been no new information made available for release at this time, as such, we would respectfully decline an interview.”
Porter said he has already requested access to all surveillance video and hasn’t yet heard back from the agency.
This was the third police-involved shooting in Jacksonville in 2021 and the second that ended with a death.