Twenty-eight Orlando-area cops who had been waiting up to two years for a prosecutor to evaluate their use of deadly force have been cleared during the past two months by State Attorney Lawson Lamar, reports the Orlando Sentinel. He closed 15 of those cases during three days in mid-November, a week before the Sentinel reported that his office took months and sometimes years longer than other area prosecutors to review such cases.
This week, Chief of Investigations Randy Means said, “We have accomplished our goal of finishing the reviews and now have a better tracking method that should keep reviews up to date.” The Sentinel began looking into the backlog in September. Law-enforcement officials and union leaders told the newspaper that officers involved in shootings had to work under a cloud of doubt as they waited for Lamar’s staff to decide whether they acted legally. The promise of timely reviews pleased Orlando police officers and Orange County deputy sheriffs. “We understand that, obviously, homicide cases and other infamous-type crimes” could take precedence, but “we feel it’s just as important in most circumstances to get those officers’ actions reviewed and let the public know they did their job or, in those rare cases, if they didn’t do their jobs,” said Sam Hoffman of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 25 in Orlando.