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Jan. 28, 2012 — Ocklawaha

Marion County Sheriff's Deputy Steven Simpson performed a traffic stop on Michael Lyell Smith.

Smith, 26, had reportedly been driving erratically. Simpson told FDLE investigators that he asked for Smith's license and Smith produced it, then released the parking brake and began to drive away.

Simpson can be heard on the dashboard video saying, "I'm gonna drag you out of this car," and, "Don't you do it." Simpson reached into the truck as Smith pulled away and was carried into the oncoming lane of traffic. Read more

The deputy pulled his weapon and fired one shot, then fell to the ground.

Witnesses told the FDLE that Simpson then fired three more shots at the fleeing truck, but the FDLE found no evidence to support the witness' statements.

Smith careened around the corner and crashed into a building. He died soon after.

Simpson was cleared by the state attorney, who ruled the shooting justified.

"I'm not going to take the state attorney's word for it," Smith's wife told the Ocala Star Banner. "I want to see the evidence to justify his death."

This was the 12th police shooting in Florida in 2012.

Six days earlier, one officer shot two people in Deland .

13 days later, three officers shot one person in West Palm Beach .

4 ways this case compares to others

  1. Officer approached Smith after he was suspected of committing a minor crime. That’s true in 1 of every 12 cases.
  2. Smith was shot after resisting arrest. A total of 114 people were shot while resisting arrest.
  3. Smith was fleeing from police or a crime scene, which is true in a quarter of shootings.
  4. This shooting came after an officer pulled over Smith for a traffic violation. Seventy-seven cases began with a traffic stop.

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