JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The attorney representing the family of a 32-year-old man who was shot and killed last month by police at an Argyle Forest hotel said he has talked to two witnesses, one of whom “saw the whole thing,” and believes the shooting was unjustified.
Michael Hughes, whom family said was a father of two boys and a good person who had a mental illness, was fatally shot March 30 at the Quality Inn on Youngerman Circle after an altercation with officers responding to a domestic disturbance. According to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, Hughes fought with Officer J.H. Wing, got his Taser away from him and Tasered the officer. The Sheriff’s Office said Wing then fired multiple times, killing Hughes.
At a news conference Thursday, attorney Marwan Porter said one of the witnesses believes Hughes didn’t get hold of Wing’s Taser but tried to knock the Taser out of his hand to disarm the officer and keep from being Tasered. Porter said the witness believes it was Wing who Tasered Hughes and then shot him twice in the lower extremities inside the hotel room. Porter said those gunshot wounds were not life-threatening but left Hughes disoriented and stumbling and no longer a threat. Porter said that when the officers and Hughes exited the hotel room, there was a time gap, and that’s when Wing shot Hughes three more times, killing him.
Porter said JSO needed to de-escalate the situation then.
Porter said there are two body camera videos -- one of the cameras stopped working and the other fell to the ground. Porter said he was able to review the video and said you can initially see the officers approach Hughes inside the hotel room and hear a struggle as they try to restrain him.
“And you hear, ‘Get off me, get off me.’ And then you hear, ‘He’s going for my Taser, he’s going for my Taser.’ And then you hear a buzz and then you hear two shots,” Porter said.
Porter said there was a gap in time and more shots were fired outside the hotel room. He said those shots weren’t heard on the body camera.
Porter has also been shown one hotel surveillance video but said the State Attorney’s Office hasn’t yet shown him a second hotel surveillance video, and he’s demanding that in the name of transparency. Porter said the key question is what happened outside the hotel room?
As of right now, Porter doesn’t feel the shooting is justified and said there’s a “strong possibility” the officer could be charged.