First of its kind investigation - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

First of its kind investigation

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After learning that the victim in Tuesday’s shooting in Stuart was black, and the deputies who shot him were white, Martin County Sheriff William Snyder immediately called the FBI to the scene.

“Given complete carte blanche to ask questions, go about the scene, look at the evidence," said the sheriff Wednesday.

The sheriff says he wouldn’t have done that a few years ago, but the public today expects more accountability and transparency from law enforcement.

“I was not going to expose my deputies to second guessing that often comes in cases like this. These are hard working deputies doing their job.”

The FBI is not doing its own investigation, but is monitoring the situation.  Spokesman James Marshall wrote in part, “If in the course of the local investigation, information comes to light of a potential federal civil rights violation, the FBI is prepared to investigate.”

Wednesday, the last of three Martin County Sheriff’s Office vehicles damaged during the shooting was taken away from a Stuart motel parking lot.

In 2016, the undercover narcotics deputies involved made 505 arrests. None ended like this.

“The world of trying to push back on narcotics dealers is pretty unstable on its best day," said Sheriff Snyder.

Two deputies fired shots at Horace Brown, who had previously served time in Palm Beach County on drug offenses, and even faced an attempted murder charge.

According to the Clerk’s Office, that case was dropped because of insufficient evidence. In this case, the still unnamed deputies involved were not placed on leave, but were told to take as much time as they needed.

The sheriff says he'll release the deputies names Friday but has been given them time to prepare their families as there as been a lot of what he called "aggressive" commenting on their Facebook page.

 The suspect, Brown, should be released from the hospital soon.  He’ll then be booked in the Martin County Jail. 

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