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9/19/2017 7:27:10 PM
Posted: 12/15/2005 10:44:18 AM EDT
If I remember right this sparked a long thread several months ago so here is the outcome of the investigation.

Officer cleared in fatal shooting of undercover colleague

ORLANDO, Fla. An Orlando police officer was cleared Thursday of any wrongdoing for fatally shooting an undercover University of Central Florida officer who was pointing a gun at a suspect during a tailgate party outside the Citrus Bowl last September.

Officer Dennis Smith of the Orlando Police Department thought he was shooting a civilian pointing a gun at another man on the ground, said State Attorney Lawson Lamar.

Smith didn't know that the man with the gun was University of Central Florida Officer Mario Jenkins, and the man on the ground was Michael Young, whom authorities allege grabbed Jenkins in a bear hug from behind as the officer tried to control another tailgater after a scuffle.

Jenkins, 29, was part of a team investigating underage drinking at tailgate parties before Central Florida's Sept. 25 game with Marshall. He was wearing a green shirt and a baseball cap.

He got into a scuffle when he was grabbed by Young, Lamar said. He had fired shots into the air and at Young to get him off his back before he was shot by Smith. The Orlando police officer believed Jenkins was turning to aim his gun at him, said Lamar, announcing the conclusions of an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. A mortally wounded Jenkins returned fire at Smith, who was in clothes identifying him as an officer, but missed.

Smith "acted lawfully and out of necessity," Lamar said. "Officer Smith is not a criminal."

Young was charged Thursday with battery on a law enforcement officer, a third-degree felony, and obstructing or opposing a police officer, a first-degree misdemeanor. Attorney information for Young was not immediately available. Young, who has since recovered from his injury, apparently knew that Jenkins was an officer, authorities said.

Smith, through the Orlando Police Department's public information office, said he wouldn't comment on the investigation's conclusions.

University of Central Florida officials were holding an news conference later Thursday to respond to the investigation report.

The undercover operation, the noise from the crowd and the multiple law enforcement agencies helping police the game led to a "perfect storm of bad events," Lamar said. UCF has since changed its policy and required all police officers patrolling football game to wear their uniforms.

"Everything cascaded in the wrong direction," Lamar said. "Things did not work as they should have worked."

Smith, on bike patrol, had been told that shots were fired in a parking lot of the Citrus Bowl. As he arrived, he saw tailgaters running toward him, fleeing, and then he saw Jenkins, in plainclothes, pointing his gun at Young, who was in a fetal position on the ground, said Steven Foster, an assistant state attorney.

Smith drew his gun, and as Jenkins appeared to be turning toward him, Smith fired two shots at Jenkins, Lamar said. Before falling to the ground, Jenkins fired two shots at Smith, who then fired one more back. Jenkins' shots missed him, but Smith told investigators he was close enough to feel the muzzle blasts from Jenkins' gun through his bike helmet.

"We don't impute any bad motive to Officer Jenkins. He was in the midst of a tactical situation, was shot and returned fire," Lamar said. "It was all part of the playing out of an extremely tense situation where the players didn't know who the other players were."

Link Posted: 12/15/2005 11:05:21 AM EDT
I figured that's how it would go.

I do think Jenkins could've handled it a lot better. Smith had no choice but to react to the situation as he was presented it.

I also like that they're ditching plainclothes for this sort of thing. In situations like a parking lot it seems the best use of a cop would be as a deterrent. As in, "don't do that, there's a cop over there". You don't get that if they can't tell the guy's a cop.

Link Posted: 12/15/2005 11:05:28 AM EDT
So based upon this, firing warning shots will be removed from the UCFPD protocol, right?
Link Posted: 12/15/2005 11:57:19 AM EDT
Sucks all the way around. A lot of little things could have changed the outcome drastically. I was there when it happened, most of the officers were dicking around eating and hanging around the firetrucks. This guy was one of the cops that was actually working.

Basically, Orlando PD knew there were undercover UCF cops there to help with underage drinking. But in their breifing, it was informal where they just ate pizza and nobody met the undercovers to see what they were wearing or how to identify them.
Link Posted: 12/15/2005 11:59:05 AM EDT

Originally Posted By JustinOK34:
So based upon this, firing warning shots will be removed from the UCFPD protocol, right?

Technically they dont even need guns. I cant carry my gun onto the UCF campus, and neither can anyone else. So if nobody has them, why do they need them
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