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Officer cited in wheelchair-bound man's death | News

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Officer cited in wheelchair-bound man's death

St. Petersburg, Florida- A Bay Area lawyer said he was somewhat satisfied with the citation of a St. Petersburg police officer Thursday, for his role in the death of a wheelchair-bound man.

Police cited Officer Mehmedin Karic for Careless Driving, after they said he hit and killed Harold Fleming back in February along the intersection of 38th Avenue North and 64th Street North. 

According to the crash investigation report, Officer Karic was going 61 MPH in a 40 MPH zone.  The report states, "Officer Karic's carelessness while operating his vehicle is the direct cause of this crash that took the life of Harold Fleming."

From the beginning, Fleming's family and their attorney, Jonathan Palma, were concerned Harold's death would be overlooked.

"For me, this is a good first step that there's some type of acknowledgement in the report, where blame should be placed," said Palma.

According to the report, Officer Karic "failed to follow the posted speed limit." And though the report states he "was not texting or talking on his cell phone" at the time of the crash, it also states the officer "received two text messages." One was right before the crash.

The investigation also concluded that Fleming did have alcohol and marijuana in his system, but the report does not state that as a contributing factor. 

Palma is hoping now to change the way local law enforcement agencies handle investigations like this one.

He doesn't believe agencies should do their own, involving their own officers.

"We're going to use this to try and go to city council and see if we can get some changes implemented at the local level, if not carried on state wide. So that God forbid a situation like this happens where an officer accidentally kills a civilian, it's handled a little different," said Palma.

Officer Karic does have to appear in traffic court on the 24. We're told Fleming's family will be there. It's unclear right now whether they'll move forward with any suit or not.

An Internal Affairs investigation is now underway. 

Officer Karic will be on paid administrative duty during the course of it.


Previous Stories:

Police Cruiser hits and kills man in wheelchair

Paralyzed man hit and killed by police officer

Did poor lighting contribute to fatal accident?

Family frustrated with police department in wake of fatal accident


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