MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – It’s been over a year since 21-year-old Gibson Junior Belizaire was shot by police during a domestic disturbance call. But Monday afternoon, the state attorney’s office cleared all five officers in the shooting saying the officers were legally justified in using deadly force.
According to the SAO’s closeout report, all but one witness said “Belizaire got out of the passenger side of the Jaguar, assumed a shooting position, and immediately fired upon officers Andre Mathis and Jason Clifford.”
Mathis and Clifford would return fire and the SAO reported that “Officer Mathis and Officer Clifford discharged his firearm during the course of attempting a felony stop and acted both in self-defense and the defense of others as events unfolded.”
The SAO’s report found “the actions of each officer were legally justified,” under Florida law.
Mathis and Clifford were just two of the officers involved. The other officers, Eric Guzman, Pierre Cazassus, and George Diaz were also cleared in the shooting.
The SAO said that “Belizaire’s actions put fear in the minds of Officers Diaz, Guzman, and Cazassus that violence was imminent to the individual officer in the vicinity, and, as a consequence, the officers fired in order to protect each of their lives and the lives of their fellow officers.”
The Belizaire police-involved shooting was one of several over the last year that sparked outrage in the community.