Palm Beach County, FL — Jeremy Hutton is a 17-year-old boy with Down Syndrome, who nearly lost his life after an officer shot him three times as he fled.
The incident happen in October of 2010, and the subsequent internal “investigation” cleared Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Deputy, Jason Franqui, the officer who shot Hutton.
Hutton was a somewhat troubled teen and had taken his mother’s minivan for a joy ride.
Deputy Franqui was the officer who responded to the mother’s call for help. When Franqui caught up to Hutton, he stopped at a red light. Franqui then pulled in front of the van in an attempt to stop Hutton.
According to the report and the results of the investigation, Franqui feared for his life because he said Hutton drove directly at him, so he was forced to shoot.
“I watched the driver, he turned the wheel and started coming right at me,” Deputy Franqui told investigators. “I was in fear he was going to hit me.”
Dashcam video of the incident did not refute the deputy’s claims as it only showed a portion of the perspective. The shooting was eventually ruled justified.
The incident was also caught on traffic camera video and despite the “investigation” mentioning the existence of the video, its detail was not mentioned.
The traffic cam video refuted the entire deputy’s description. It showed that Hutton made an overt attempt to steer away from deputy Franqui. After the van passed Franqui, is when he opened fire. Hutton was struck in the head, shoulder and arm. Thankfully he lived.
“I don’t think anybody knew or anticipated that they were going to get caught by a traffic camera,” said Stuart Kaplan, the Hutton’s civil attorney.
“This case is one of the most egregious, one of the most disturbing cases that I have pending in my office,” explained Kaplan.
“The traffic camera clearly shows that Jeremy Hutton apparently was driving away from the deputy but actually turned his vehicle as far to the left as possible to completely try and avoid hitting this deputy so it’s completely inconsistent to what was told by the deputy, it’s appalling,” said Kaplan.
“The deputy was not in any danger,” said Kaplan.
What this case illustrates is that not only did an officer lie about what happened and go unpunished, but the officers involved in the investigation seemingly covered up the lies.
“In this particular case there was absolutely nothing done on the state attorney’s side other than to gather all the information that was provided to them by the very office who has now cleared this deputy. To me that’s a rubber stamp,” said Kaplan.