LEON COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — A judge has denied a motion that sought to withhold the identity of the officer who shot and killed Tony McDade under Marsy's Law.
The 51 page motion, filed Monday by the Florida Police Benevolent Association, claims the officer was "the victim of an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon." As such, the group contended that the officer's identity should not be released under Marsy's Law.
Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson said he couldn't make a ruling Thursday based on the evidence provided.
Instead, the motion was denied because the matter was "constitutional" and required that the attorney general be brought on to interpret it, according to Dodson's clerk.
Jennifer Fennell, the spokesperson for Marsy's Law for Florida, sent the following statement regarding law enforcement invoking Marcy's Law:
“Police officers who have become victims of crime deserve the same constitutional rights as everyone else. But police officers who have committed crimes cannot hide behind Marsy’s Law.
Marsy’s Law grants constitutional rights to all victims of crime, in the same way that all persons accused of a crime in Florida have constitutional rights. Victim status in Florida is granted to all victims of crime, without discrimination.
The Florida Constitution does not distinguish victim status between members of the public and police officers so any citizen can be a victim of a crime, even if they are a public employee. However, the Marsy’s Law provision of the constitution is clear when it says that the accused cannot also be a victim.
If a determination is made that a police officer has broken the law in the case, they become a defendant in that case and as such they automatically lose all their rights as a victim under the Marsy’s Law provision of the Florida Constitution and their name must be released.
The Marsy’s Law organization believes that in the interest of transparency and consistent with Florida’s tradition of government transparency that authorities should make this determination as quickly as possible.”