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Veteran Sarasota deputy cleared in shooting of 65-year-old man during eviction

Sarasota Herald-Tribune by Melissa Pérez-Carrillo

The shooting death of a man by a sheriff’s deputy in a downtown condo during an eviction has been ruled justified because the man threatened deputies with a knife, according to the 12th Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office.

In a letter dated May 13, Chief Assistant State Attorney Craig Schaeffer said that the deputy, determined by the Herald-Tribune’s reporting to be Sarasota County Sheriff’s Deputy Stephanie Graham, acted lawfully in the April 1 incident in which she shot and killed Jeremiah Evans, 65. An autopsy report from the medical examiner’s office showed that Evans died from a perforation of his heart following a gunshot wound to his chest.

Public records and interviews paint a fuller picture of Evans and Graham, a 24-year sheriff’s veteran, in the case in which a court-ordered eviction led to Evans’ death at Palm Place condominiums at 755 South Palm Ave….

…The newspaper fought the injunction, appearing in court on June 21 to argue that it was an unconstitutional prior restraint that violated the First Amendment. The parties were awaiting a ruling by Circuit Judge Charles Williams when, on Thursday, a group called the Florida Center for Government Accountability, which helps citizens and journalists access public records, published a story about the case online and included Stephanie Graham’s name.

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