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Widow of Army combat veteran who died in Florida jail renews call for video of husband’s death

Gregory Lloyd Edwards in police custody on Dec. 9, 2019. (Brevard County Sheriff's Department/Released)

For Kathleen Edwards, the last few weeks have been a traumatic reminder of her own efforts to see the last conscious moments of her husband’s life at the Brevard County Jail Complex.

She has watched viral videos showing the in-custody death of George Floyd but says she still has not been allowed to watch a Brevard County sheriff’s video showing the violent confrontation between her 38-year-old husband, Gregory Lloyd Edwards, and corrections deputies on Dec. 9, 2018. He was then left alone in a cell for nearly 16 minutes before being found unresponsive.

Edwards, an Army combat veteran, died the next day, swollen, bruised, unconscious and handcuffed to a hospital bed.

The use of force in the closed case — captured on surveillance video — was ruled as ‘reasonable’ and ‘justifiable’ by the state attorney’s office after a review of the sheriff’s department’s own investigation.

“I just want justice. I feel like the state attorney and the sheriff have taken advantage of me. I’m a disabled veteran and they know this,” said Edwards, adding that her personal requests to view the video have gone unanswered.

“They won’t release the video of what happened to my husband. It’s like there is no humanity. How would they feel if this happened to one of their loved ones?”

The sheriff’s office has also denied FLORIDA TODAY public records request for the video. The state attorney cited its longstanding policy of not releasing surveillance video while the sheriff’s office blocked the video’s release based on the agency’s reading of FS.119.071(3), 281.301, which covers the exemption of material under a provision involving security systems.

The widow, now raising two small children on her own, will speak Saturday at a March for Justice rally in Rockledge. The event, one of a number of rallies that have been organized locally in response Floyd’s May 25th death, will also feature a town hall session that will include area law enforcement representatives.

“She decided she wanted to speak. When all of this happened no one stepped up for her husband,” said Vickey Mitchner, one of the organizers of the march that will take place in Rockledge and Cocoa.

Marchers will gather 3 p.m. Saturday at Fiske and Barton boulevards

Mitchner said Sherifff Wayne Ivey will also be invited to the event.

Typically, police dash camera, in-car, or body cam videos are public records and are released by investigating agencies upon request by family.

In the case of the surveillance video that shows Edward’s confrontation with deputies, the state attorney’s office says it does not release surveillance video. The agency declined to comment on Kathleen Edward’s request to see the video.


© 2020 The Florida Times-Union