In 2010, Amy Hutton called 911, frantic: Her 17-year-old son, Jeremy, who suffered from Down syndrome, had taken her minivan for a drive.
Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded and found Jeremy Hutton driving slowly down Royal Palm Beach Boulevard. One tire was flattened after he hit a curb.
The next moments would end with a deputy shooting Hutton, whose lawyers say has the mental capacity of a 3- to 6-year-old, three times.
When Hutton came to a stop at Okeechobee Boulevard, deputy Jason Franqui pulled his patrol car in front of him, blocking the minivan’s path. Franqui got out of his cruiser.
Hutton then drove around the car, clipping the driver’s side door and bumping the front corner. Franqui fired six times, saying that Hutton looked into his eyes, turned the steering wheel to the right and drove directly at him.
Police and prosecutors justified the shooting, saying that video confirmed that when Franqui fired, he was in front of the minivan.
“The witnesses, physical evidence and video evidence all establish that at the time deputy Franqui discharged his weapon, Hutton was driving his vehicle directly at him,” then-State Attorney Michael McAuliffe wrote in a memo to Sheriff Ric Bradshaw.
But The Post obtained the videos of the incident, and they show the opposite: Franqui was beside or behind Hutton’s minivan when he started shooting. The six shots, recorded on his cruiser’s in-car recorder, ring out after Hutton strikes the vehicle.
Unmentioned in the PBSO and state attorney reports: The back and side windows of Hutton’s minivan were shot out. And two rounds went into a passing motorist’s car. That driver was not hurt.
Hutton was shot in the head, shoulder and hand and lived, according to his lawyers. His family is now suing PBSO.
The case is one of many The Post and WPTV NewsChannel 5 detailed in a yearlong investigation into police shootings in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.
The investigation revealed that the department’s internal investigators investigators often rely solely on the deputy’s version of events, ignoring or downplaying conflicting evidence such as videos to justify deadly force, even when it seems apparent that the deputy violated agency protocol.