DAVIE, Fla. - The Davie Police Department won't release surveillance video of a fatal shooting at a CVS pharmacy until the investigation is complete, despite the threat of a lawsuit by the victim's family.
"We will not release evidence," Maj. Dale Engle said at a news conference Thursday morning.
"The law requires that until this investigation is complete, we have a duty to maintain the evidence and protect the integrity of that investigation," Engle said.
The announcement was made a day after the mother of Andre Smith and her attorneys demanded that police release the video.
Police said Andre Smith was fatally shot by Matthew Barry after a Craigslist transaction gone awry.
Barry replied to Smith's Craigslist advertisement about selling an iPhone for $280 and agreed to meet outside the CVS at the intersection of Griffin Road and University Drive to make the exchange. Barry told police that Smith tried to rob him, so he was forced to shoot Smith in self-defense.
No arrests have been made.
Smith's mother said her son wasn't armed and that Barry was the real aggressor.
"It's tragic. I cannot fathom losing a child. I have four little kids, and I can't imagine what this poor mom's going through," Engle said. "But let us do our job. It's not something that's going to be resolved in an hour's time with commercials. It's a process."
Greg Rossman, a retired prosecutor and current attorney for the Town of Davie agreed with the police department's decision to not release the surveillance video until the investigation is completed.
"I don't know what law school they went to (or) if they're Florida lawyers or not, because the Florida public records law is 119. The victim's rights law is 960. Neither of those gives a victim's next of kin an absolute right to see anything prior to the investigation being done," Rossman said.
Engle said the evidence will be presented to the family "at the appropriate time" before making the video public.
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