IMMOKALEE -- On Sept. 17, 2021 will mark one year since Nicolas Morales Bensanilla was shot to death at close range by Cpl. Pierre Jean of the Collier County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO). As he was dying, he was heard calling out for his mother in the normally quiet streets of Immokalee’s Farmworker Village neighborhood.
On Feb. 12, 2001, the 20th Judicial Circuit ruled the use of lethal force was justified.
According to the CCSO report, the officer-involved shooting took place in a driveway on Edenfield Way. A woman inside the home called 911 because someone was banging on the front door with a shovel, according to the CCSO report. When deputies arrived, they found Morales Besanilla holding a shovel and an object later determined to be pruning shears.
According to the report, Cpl. Jean ordered the man to get on the ground and told him not to advance. The man dropped the shovel but moved quickly toward the officers carrying the other object. Cpl. Jean later told investigators he thought the object was a knife. He fired four times. Morales Besanilla was hit three times. At the same time he was shot, a K-9 was released and bit him in the shoulder.
Deputies gave Morales first aid and he was taken to a local hospital where he died.
CCSO released the dashcam video of the incident.
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) alongside other community leaders have called the investigations into the shooting by both the State Attorney’s office and the CCSO’s own Professional Responsibility Bureau inadequate. The sheriff’s deputies that were on the scene that night remain on the job.
“Nearly a year has passed without justice for Nicolas Morales, and we know, from Immokalee to Kenosha, that leaving bad police on the streets begets more police violence,” the CIW explained. “Accountability for past violence isn't just the right thing to do for those already victimized by police brutality, it prevents future abuse, too.
“Read our reflection on police violence on the CIW website today, and if you're in Florida, plan to join us on September 17th at the Collier County Sheriff's Office in Naples to deliver a petition demanding justice for Nicolas and an end to police brutality for all of Collier County!” the CIW stated.
To read more about the Sept. 17 event, visit the CIW website: https://ciw-online.org