Florida police are rampaging to rid the streets of marijuana, a substance that voters across the state are predicted to legalize for medicinal use in 2016.
Derek Cruice, 26, was reportedly unarmed when a deputy with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Department fatally shot him in the face last week during a raid, according to a report from The Daytona Beach News-Journal.
Early Wednesday morning, a SWAT team showed up outside the residence where Cruice was living with his five roommates. The report indicates that Cruice had been the subject of an ongoing narcotics investigation, which led to law enforcement obtaining a search warrant of the premises.
When officers attempted to get inside the house at 6:30 a.m., several of the residents scrambled from their respective rooms and were greeted by an armed police force near the front door. This is when one of the first officers inside the house, Deputy Todd Raible, spotted Cruice and determined his reaction to be threatening and took him down with a single bullet to the face.
The News-Journal reports that Cruice was pronounced dead at Florida Hospital Fish Memorial.
A search of the residence uncovered nine ounces of marijuana, scales, paraphernalia and thousands of dollars in cash, but Cruice’s roommates claim that he was not resisting officers in any way when he was shot. Matt Grady, who opened the door for police, said he heard the gunshot within seconds of officers pushing him to the ground. Another resident, 24-year-old Steven Cochran, said he watched the scene unfold, and Cruice was not resisting or putting up any kind of struggle.
“He had no weapons on him or in the house,” Cochran said. “Nobody was making any kind of resistance or keeping them from doing their job. He is not the kind of person that would do that [attack a deputy].”
The Volusia County Sheriff’s Department is not saying much about the incident. All that Sheriff Ben Johnson would tell reporters was that “deputies were met with resistance and a shooting occurred” and that Deputy Raible had been placed on administrative leave, which is standard protocol.
According to StoptheDrugWar.org, Derek Cruice is the tenth person to die this year as a result of the domestic War on Drugs.