|Photo: First Coast News|
|Daughter Ashley Bodden reacts to the news that her father’s murder by a deputy was ruled “justifiable homicide”|
“He died over a bag of marijuana.”
~ Ray Bodden’s daughter
The shooting death of a Florida man by a deputy was ruled “justifiable homicide” this week because the unarmed man supposedly made the officer “feel in danger.”
Ernest Cole, the deputy who shot and killed Franklin “Ray” Bodden, 39, as he pulled a bag of marijuana out of his pocket, has now returned to patrols, reports Kate Howard at The Florida Times-Union.
Nassau County Deputy Cole shot Bodden twice during a traffic stop, killing him.
“He died over a bag of marijuana,” said Ray’s daughter, Ashley Bodden, who said she had spent the last several years building a relationship with her father. Her mother and father had divorced when she was very young, leaving the father and daughter to make up for lost time.
|Photo: First Coast News|
|Ray Bodden, 39, was shot to death by a cop for marijuana.|
”I’ll never be able to see my dad again and that runs through my head all the time,” Bodden said. “I cried myself to sleep last night because after watching that tape, it just broke my heart.”
Investigators said they believe the video from Deputy Cole’s patrol car “makes it clear” the deputy had no reason to shoot and kill Bodden at a traffic stop on September 11.
But the Florida Attorney General’s Office saw it differently and said the killing was justified.
“In this case we believe the officer felt he was in danger and another person was in danger, his ride-along was in danger,” claimed Assistant State Attorney General John Kalinowski.
Kalinowski said the video shows Bodden pulling something out of his pocket. The deputy claimed he thought it was a gun, but it turned out to be a rolled up six-inch bag of marijuana.
|The final moments of Ray Bodden’s life: Bodden (left) is seen with a civilian “ride-along” employee of the sheriff’s office, David Bright, moments before the fatal shooting|
Ray Bodden’s brother, Charles DeYoung, angry that his brother died alone on the pavement, prodded Sheriff Tommy Seagraves with questions.
“I don’t see the humanity in it,” DeYoung said. “Why did my brother lay there and die? I have a question for you. What’s your basic policy on humanity? My brother laid there and died. Nobody went to him.”
“We don’t have a policy on humanity,” the Sheriff replied.
“There’s no reason to shoot him over a little bit of marijuana,” Bodden’s mother, Anna Bodden, said.
She doesn’t agree that the shooting was justifiable — in fact, Anna said it was murder, plain and simple.
“I know my son was a good boy,” Anna said from her porch in Callahan. “He’s done a lot of things in his lifetime I didn’t approve of, but he never did do anything to cause anybody to want to kill him.”
Bodden was riding a motorcycle with passenger Anthony Weeks when Deputy Cole and a civilian ride-along passenger, David Bright, pulled them over.
At one point in the traffic stop — after a bag of marijuana had been confiscated from Weeks — Cole claimed he believed Bodden was “reaching for a weapon.”
“Mr. Bodden appeared nervous and uneasy, and then began to raise his hand with the silver object still in it,” reads the final report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. “Deputy Cole stated he believed Mr. Bodden was raising a gun to shoot Mr. Bright.”
Cole shot Bodden twice and he died later that night at Shands Jacksonville Medical Center. Deputies admitted after the incident that Bodden never had a weapon.
The family released video provided to them by the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office, recorded that night by a dashboard camera in the patrol car. The video does not show a confrontation or shooting, but Deputy Cole can be heard commanding Bodden to put his hands up, then shots can be heard.
“My buddy Ray was a harmless guy,” said Anthony Weeks, Bodden’s passenger on the motorcycle that night and who witnessed the shooting. “And to be shot over a little bag of weed is senseless.”
“We had a conversation with the cops, as you can see on the video,” Weeks said. “The video explains the rest.”
When told that the “official investigation” found that Bodden refused to put his hands where the deputy could see them, Weeks replied: “I’ve seen him with his hands up.”
DeYoung said the family cried when they learned the deputy would not face any criminal charges.
The Nassau County Sheriff’s Office will now conduct its own internal investigation of the incident to see if any “department policies” were violated.
Expect another whitewash.