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Grand Jury to Investigate Tymar Crawford Shooting

pensacola_police_detective_badge.jpg
Pensacola PD
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A grand jury begins work this week to determine if a former Pensacola police detective should face charges in a fatal shooting last summer.

Twenty-eight-year-old Tymar Crawford was shot and killed during a scuffle with Detective Daniel Siemen and another officer on July 5, at a residence near Brainerd and C Streets.

Assistant State Attorney Greg Marcille will oversee the grand jury investigation.

“The Florida Department of Law Enforcement -- as is the customary practice in this area – review all law enforcement-involved shootings,” said Marcille. “They did do the investigation in this case, and they referred their report to us for review.”

The only officer to discharge a weapon during the incident, Siemen was fired after an internal review by the Pensacola Police Department for violating policy on the use of force. State Attorney Bill Eddins determined this was an appropriate case for the grand jury, focusing on two issues.

“One is whether or not there was any sort of criminal violations by any law enforcement officers by the Pensacola Police Department that resulted in the death of Mr. Crawford,” Marcille said. “And secondly, to review the practices of the Pensacola Police Department as it relates to training use of force.”

The grand jury is expected to take most, if not all, of this week and then return its findings. Marcille says under state law, the panel has at least three options on the table.

“They can return an indictment that they did find that there was probable cause to believe that a crime was committed,” said Marcille. “They can return what’s called a ‘no true bill,’ that there is no probable cause that a crime was committed. The grand jury also has the authority to look into the actions of local governmental agencies – including law enforcement agencies – and can make recommendations.”

Grand juries in Florida are seated twice a year, for six-month terms. Marcille says they’re not bound by timelines; they finish when they finish.

“Generally, the consider charges of 1st degree murder, which is the only charge that is mandatory that they return an indictment,” Marcille said. “And they occasionally will hear other matters during their term. Their term can actually be extended if they’re in the process of hearing a particular matter. And it can be extended beyond the six months to conclude that one particular matter.”

The Tymar Crawford shooting led to protests and demonstrations throughout the summer, calling for reforms within the police department. Marcille says a grand jury is a cross-section of the community, representing all walks of life and all parts of the community.

“It is a part of the community that’s reviewing this to determine what actions are appropriate,” said Marcille. “And I think the people of this area should be confident in their grand juries, that they will take their duty very seriously and will perform their duties in the proper manner.”

The Crawford shooting – along with the shooting death of 20-year-old Elizabeth Harris in May – resurrected the call for a gun task force in Escambia County, similar to one in operation a number of years ago.