One part of an investigation is over for a Key Colony Beach police officer who shot at a car at close range during an October traffic stop on Duck Key.
Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jose Hernandez pulled over Jerrett Bryan, 39, of Miami on Oct. 12 around 7 a.m. at mile marker 61 oceanside for having a tag light out and an unreadable license place. While talking to Bryan, Hernandez smelled marijuana coming from the car and called for backup. That’s when Key Colony Beach officers Charles Griffith and Jeff Rodriguez showed up to provide it.
Griffith shot at the driver’s side window after Bryan shut the door on the officer’s hand, police say. Griffith’s shot shattered the window but did not hit Bryan, who then sped away and was stopped up the road.
Key Colony Police Chief Kris DiGiovanni asked the Sheriff’s Office to do a use-of-force investigation to determine if Griffith’s shot was justified, Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Becky Herrin said.
“We completed our inquiries and turned everything over to the State Attorney’s Office and DiGiovanni,” Herrin told the Keynoter Tuesday. “Those two would decide if there were any criminal charges against anyone that hadn’t been brought yet and DiGiovanni would decide if there were any policy violations that needed to be pursued.”
DiGiovanni said Tuesday he has not heard anything from the Sheriff’s Office yet but that Griffith is still out on workers’ compensation for his hand injury.
“He’s out on workman’s comp until he’s [medically] cleared, and then he’ll be on administrative leave depending on whatever happens with the investigation,” DiGiovanni said.
Griffith previously worked for the Florida Highway Patrol and has worked for the Key Colony department since Jul 25, 2011. He’s paid $57,067 annually.
Assistant State Attorney Jon Byrne said Bryan is facing charges for fleeing and attempting to elude; driving with a suspended license; aggravated battery on a police officer; resisting an officer without violence; possession of drug paraphernalia; possession of marijuana over 20 grams; and possession of marijuana with intent to sell.
Byrne said a plea of not guilty was entered for Bryan at his Nov. 2 arraignment. A docket sounding is set for Monday at 1:30 before Acting Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Ruth Becker at the Marathon courthouse.
Katie Atkins: 305-440-3219