Port Orange, FL -- On December 21, Port Orange Police Officer Silvio Portillo was driving his patrol car at 15 mph above the posted speed limit when he struck and killed a motorcyclist.
Father of two and Navy Veteran, Andrew McIlvain, 39, was riding his motorcycle as Officer Portillo was looking down at his laptop on the way to a "non-priority" noise complaint. When Portillo looked up, it was too late, he was driving over this unsuspecting man.
Two weeks later, McIlvain succumbed to his severe injuries, and he died on January 4. The police even had the audacity to attempt to justify this officer's reckless driving by releasing a statement that McIlvain didn't have his driver's license at the time of the crash -- as if that is worthy of a death sentence.
All of this information was obtained by the Port Orange police during the process of their internal investigation. It is a matter of police record that Silvio Portillo was driving his patrol car, was speeding, was distracted, and killed an innocent man. He was then suspended for ten days and ordered to attend an emergency vehicle operation course.
However, according to the Florida Highway Patrol, they could not legally prove those facts during Portillo's hearing last week.
The debacle began as Portillo conveniently did not show up to his own hearing for the careless driving charge. This was likely an attempt to avoid a perjury charge if he was asked about driving the car that killed a man.
According to the Daytona Beach News-Journal:
Portillo did not appear for the hearing before County Judge Angela Dempsey at the Courthouse Annex in Daytona Beach. Portillo's attorney Martin White argued successfully that the police officer had not been identified as the driver of the squad car that struck McIlvain.
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The FHP was responsible for an independent investigation of Portillo. Former FHP Trooper Robert Asbill interview him after the accident, however, he was conveniently absent that day as well. Even so, the FHP's own report, prepared by Trooper Kurt Glaenzer listed Portillo as the driver of the patrol car!
“Because the defendant is not required to file an affidavit there is no evidence on the record to identify my client as the operator of that vehicle,” White said in a glaring misrepresentation of the truth.
“Your Honor, we move for a judgment of acquittal at this junction,” White said. “There's been no identification that my client was driving behind the wheel. The state did not establish venue.”
"Judgment of acquittal is granted,” Dempsey said.
This entire dog and pony show wasn't about whether or not to charge Portillo with manslaughter; it was only about a $166 careless driving ticket. Had Portillo received that ticket for careless driving, however, he could have been subject Florida state law 782.071 for vehicular homicide.
Instead, Portillo will escape all accountability.
Because of his negligence, Silvio Portillo killed an innocent man. And, because of the corruption and unwillingness of the supposed "justice" system to prosecute their own, no one will be held responsible for this loss of life.
Talking to the Journal, White said that while the argument that it could not be proven that Portillo was driving the patrol car might seem “counterintuitive” it was based on the law. He declined further comment.
“It bothers me to see a mother that's heartbroken, and I have to explain the law to her,” Glaenzer said as McIlvain's elderly mother sat silently stunned in the back of the courtroom; wondering how a cop can kill her son and face no repercussions.
Those who are tasked with upholding the law should be held to a higher standard than the rest of us, or at the very least, the same standard. However, as is the case the majority of the time, the blue line conceals a much lower set of standards.
All hope is not lost for McIlvain's mother though, her attorney Michael Politis, said they have already begun the process for a civil lawsuit in this case. However, the unfortunate reality of the civil lawsuit is that the taxpayers will be held liable and not the man who killed her son.