wjxt logo

Bodycam video shows struggle with officers before Jacksonville man’s shooting death

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office on Friday released body camera footage that shows part of the struggle between officers and 32-year-old Michael Hughes before he was shot and killed last month by police at Argyle Forest hotel.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office on Friday released body camera footage that shows part of the struggle between officers and 32-year-old Michael Hughes before he was shot and killed last month by police at an Argyle Forest hotel.

Hughes, whose family described as a father of two 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 Sheriff’s Office, Hughes fought with Officer J.H. Wing, commandeered his Taser and stunned the officer. JSO said Wing then fired multiple times, killing Hughes.

[CAUTION: The video below contains multiple expletives and contains images and audio that may be disturbing to some viewers]

In the nearly four-minute video posted on YouTube, officers can be seen entering a hotel room occupied by Hughes. The officers ask Hughes multiple times if he is a paying guest of the hotel room.

“No,” Hughes eventually responds.

The officers then order him to leave the premises and not return.

“We are going to detain you until we can properly identify you,” one of the officers says after repeatedly asking Hughes for his Social Security number.

The officers then approach Hughes as he retreats farther into the hotel room.

“Back up. Don’t touch me,” Hughes says before two officers grab him in an apparent effort to detain him.

The officers and Hughes can then be heard engaging in a struggle as the bodycam falls off and the video goes dark.

“Quit,” one officer says as the struggle continues.

“Knock it off,” the second officer says. “Stop resisting.”

“Michael stop,” a witness can be heard saying.

Then one officer screams that Hughes has his Taser. The sound of the Taser can be heard shortly before the sound of two gunshots.

“Shoot him!” an officer screams before the other yells, “Back up!”

“You back up,” Hughes responds.

One officer continues to yell “shoot him” as another orders Hughes to get on the ground.

“Y’all did it. What’s up?” Hughes can be heard saying as the video remains black.

There’s a brief moment of silence before three gunshots ring out, followed by a woman’s screams.

“Shots fired, one bravo mike (Black male). I’ve been tased,” the officer says over the radio.

“Cover him and then we’re gonna apply first aid,” an officer says.

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 avoid getting stunned.

Porter said the witness believes it was Wing who stunned Hughes and then shot him twice in the lower extremities inside the hotel room. Porter said those wounds were not life-threatening but left Hughes disoriented and stumbling and no longer a threat.

Porter said that when police and Hughes exited the hotel room, there was a time gap, and that’s when Wing shot Hughes three more times, killing him. He said that’s when JSO should have defused the situation.

Porter has seen one hotel surveillance video but said the State Attorney’s Office has not yet shown him a second clip of surveillance video. He’s demanding the release of that second piece of video in the spirit of transparency.

The key question, Porter said: What happened outside the hotel room, away from the body camera’s view?

As of right now, Porter doesn’t feel the shooting is justified and said there’s a “strong possibility” the officer could be charged.

News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson watched the video and said it appears Hughes resisted the officers and made the situation worse for himself when he grabbed one of the officer’s Tasers and used it against him.

“When he unarms a police officer, whether it be his service weapon or taser, that’s grounds for deadly force because if he incapacitates the officer he could kill that officer,” Jefferson said.

Jefferson also said there are some things that aren’t seen once the video goes dark. Jefferson noted what officers said before the struggle began.

“They said we been here before,” Jefferson said. “We told you not to come back. You’re back. You’re here and now we got to take action because we’ve been called. That’s what’s going on. They don’t have to announce you’re under arrest. They told him, we are going to detain you.”

The State Attorney’s Office last week told JSO it had no objections to the release of the bodycam video in the Hughes shooting, clearing the way for its release.

News4Jax asked the Sheriff’s Office if it had a comment on what was seen in the video. We will update this story if we get a response.


About the Authors:

Digital reporter who has lived in Jacksonville for more than 25 years and focuses on important local issues like education and the environment.

Award-winning broadcast and multimedia journalist with 20 years experience.