Courtney Hoyt, a police deputy from St. Lucie County, Florida, has been suspended after accidentally shooting a man in the buttocks, meaning to tase him.
Bodycam footage shows Hoyt encountering Dylan De Reivera on a highway bridge in Fort Pierce, at around 4:19 p.m. on September 6. De Reivera was threatening to jump, but Hoyt tried to deescalate the situation. “Please stand up for me. Don’t do that. Don’t let go,” Hoyt can be heard saying.
De Reivera, hanging off the bridge, tells Hoyt that he “didn’t do what they’re saying [he] did.” The deputy proceeded to talk to him for several minutes, telling him that he was “not alone,” and not to “let go.”
Eventually, De Reivera dropped down to a lower area below the bridge, at which point investigators say he pulled a knife out of his pocket. After another deputy arrived at the scene, and instructed him to get on the ground, the suspect started running.
The second deputy tased De Reveira, who proceeded to get up and continue to run away. At this point, Hoyt proceed to fire into his buttocks. On the bodycam, Hoyt can be heard telling her fellow deputy that she thought she was discharing her taser, not her firearm.
“It was so instinctual! I didn’t mean to do it!” she said, adding, “oh my God, what was I thinking?”
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) October 26, 2022
Following an investigation, Hoyt was not charged with a crime, with Florida officers believing that the buttocks shooting was accidental, and not deliberate.
“I just know the deputy stopped out with him in a total effort to de-escalate him, render aid to him, get him to mental health facility, and it just turned very violent very quickly,” said Sheriff Ken Mascara at a press conference.
However, Hoyt has been suspended, for violating training policies and procedures, and is now required to undergo remedial training.
The deputy had joined the Sheriff’s department in 2019, and has never had disciplinary issues until now.
The incident in Florida mirrors that of the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright in April last year by former Minnesota officer Kim Potter, who accidentally shot Wright during a traffic stop, when she instead meant to discharge her taser. Wright was found guilty of first and second degree manslaughter in December.
This news and commentary by Jack Hadfield originally appeared on Valiant News.