Two Escambia County, Florida sheriff deputies will not be punished after they broke into a house without a warrant and shot two dogs. One of the dogs died.
The deputies are Mikel Lee and Romain Brissett. On August 4, Lee and Brissett were searching for a fleeing suspect when they entered the home of Travis Nicholas and Cristina Moses. The deputies entered the home through a window in the middle of the night.
Nicholas and Moses own two dogs – a Mastiff named Rocky and a pit bull named Gracie. According to Brissett and Lee, Gracie approached them aggressively and bit one of them after they barged into the house. The officers shot both dogs. Gracie died. Rocky survived after being treated for gunshot wounds.
Moses and Nicholas told the News Journal that neither of their dogs bit a deputy.
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Nicholas said he and his girlfriend were thrown on the ground by the officers after they entered their home.
“The cops threw Cristina on the ground, cussing,’’ Nicholas said.
Both Nicholas and Moses were found innocent of the crimes deputies suspected them of.
The Sheriff’s Office filed a request with the Florida State Attorney Office to see if criminal charges against Deputies Lee and Brissett were appropriate.
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Memorandums issued to Lee and Brissett said they were being investigated for negligence, failure to follow orders, unbecoming conduct, use of profanity, and possible criminal violations.
Assistant State Attorney Greg Marcille announced this week that the deputies will not face any criminal charges. The reason they won’t be charged is not because they did nothing wrong -- the investigation found that they did. Officials are letting the deputies off the hook because their actions were not premeditated.
“We closed our review with insufficient evidence to establish that there was an intent to commit any crime, and we referred it back to the Sheriff’s Office,” Marcille said.
All Lee and Brissett had to do to avoid criminal charges is claim their actions were not premeditated. That’s quite a dangerous precedent to set.