The family of a Nassau County man shot and killed by a deputy during a traffic stop last year filed a federal lawsuit Friday.
Franklin "Ray" Bodden, 39, was killed in September. He was overheard on dashcam video pleading with Nassau County Deputy Ernest Cole before Cole shot and killed him moments later.
The suit filed by Bodden's daughter claims that Bodden's civil rights were violated. It accuses Cole of illegal search and seizure, and excessive force.
"The video of the killing of Franklin 'Ray' Bodden is one of the most disturbing anyone in this firm has ever seen," the family's attorneys said in the lawsuit. "It shows that there was absolutely no reason or justification for killing this man."
The Nassau County Sheriff's Office did not comment on the lawsuit late Friday afternoon because it hadn't seen the lawsuit yet.
In the dashcam video, Bodden can be seen alongside trainee David Bright as he grabbed for something in his left pocket. Cole admitted he panicked when his trainee commanded Bodden not to move.
"Don't move. Don't move. Put your hands up," Cole said.
That line was followed by gunshots.
According to the lawsuit, Bodden raised his hands when he was ordered to and was not holding anything, but he was shot twice, anyway, and killed.
"As he brought it out of his waistband from inside of his jacket, I seen a silver, small, silver object in his hand, appeared to be a handgun at the time, flash," Cole told an investigator in the audio interrogation. "At that time, I felt like he was either fixing to take a shot at myself or my ride-along. I truly felt like he was fixing to shoot at my ride-along."
The object wasn't a gun. It was a bag of marijuana that Bodden may have been trying to hide.
"So you did not see a gun. You did not see a knife. You didn't see drugs. You just saw his hands coming out?" an investigator asked Cole.
"I saw it coming out, and I can't -- I can't remember what -- I mean, I never identified anything," Cole said.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the state attorney's office ruled that the shooting was justified. Cole was cleared by the state attorney's office of any criminal wrongdoing. An internal investigation into whether the Cole broke the Sheriff's Office's policy and procedures is still ongoing.
Cole has since been transferred from patrol to the detective division -- a lateral transfer partly made because Cole had received threats over the Internet, Nassau County Sheriff Tommy Seagraves said.
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