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Florida Prosecutor: Arrest That Cost Man Accused of Killing Ex-Girlfriend and Officer His Eye Was ‘Lawful and Justified’

The Florida State Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday the findings of a probe into the use of force against a suspect who was on the run two years ago. According to officials, the blows officers delivered to Markeith Loyd was justified.

“After an exhaustive investigative effort by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and attorneys from my office, a detailed and comprehensive report was presented for my review on July 10, 2019,” read a Wednesday, July 31 statement from State Attorney Phil Archer. “It documents in detail, the actions of Markeith Loyd and the force used by law enforcement officers who arrested him.

“After carefully examining the report and evidence, I have determined that the use of force used during the arrest of Markeith Loyd was lawful and justified under the provisions of Florida Statutes, and no further action will be taken by this office.”

Archer noted Chief Assistant State Attorney Stacey Salmons compiled “a detailed written analysis” that explains why the decision was made.

Loyd was arrested by authorities in January 2017 following a manhunt that ensued after he fatally shot Sade Dixon, his pregnant ex-girlfriend. The chase grew more heated after Loyd shot and killed Orlando Police Department Lt. Deborah Clayton as she tried to arrest him.

In Archer’s report, he determined that several officers used what amounted to deadly force on Loyd.

Orlando Police Department employees Sgt. Anthony Mongelluzzo, Sgt. James Parker, Officer Jonathan Cute and Officer Cedric Hinkles put several punches into Loyd while he was lying in the street.

Before he surrendered, Loyd had thrown two guns into the yard from the house he’d been holed up in and then crawled on his belly toward officers.

Mongelluzzo and Parker hit Loyd once and twice respectively in the back with their rifle while Parker punched Loyd in the face, where he also kicked him. Mongelluzzo also kicked Loyd in the shoulder and the back. Hinkles kicked Loyd and delivered a muzzle strike with his gun, too. Cute kicked Loyd once in the face.

Among Loyd’s resulting injuries were cuts to his eye, mouth, ear, and back as well as a fractured eye socket that required surgery and ultimately led Loyd to lose his left eye.

“The law, as it applies to the indisputable facts, dictates a finding that Sgt. Parker, Sgt. Mongelluzzo, Officer Hinkles and Officer Cute each used deadly force during Mr. Loyd’s apprehension and arrest,” the report states.

Still, sighting the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law in which says someone “is justified in using deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using [it] is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcibly felony,” Archer says the officers’ use of deadly force is justified because officers thought Loyd may have been armed and feared for their safety.

In a comment sent to News 6 Orlando of the findings, Loyd’s attorney Terry Lenamon said, “You can’t publish what I really want to say.”

The trial concerning Dixon’s death is set to start next month. Loyd has another trial in May 2020 for Clayton’s death, for which he could get the death penalty if convicted, News 6 reported.

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