A Black woman in Florida is fighting to clear her name after she shot a police officer she suspected to be an intruder after he didn’t immediately identify himself while serving a warrant at her home.
Diamonds Ford was ultimately charged with attempted murder in the September shooting of a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office SWAT team member. But she and her lawyer claim her 911 call during the incident will prove her innocence and show she did not intend to shoot a police officer. Instead, they argue, she was simply standing her ground, which is acceptable under Florida law.
The case was eerily reminiscent of the police shooting that killed Breonna Taylor while authorities were serving a no-knock warrant to her home in Lousiville, Kentucky, earlier this year.
Ford, 28, and her fiance’ Anthony Gantt were sleeping when they were awakened by the sound of glass shattering, her lawyer, Stephen Kelly, told News 4 JAX. He said she was unaware the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) was executing a high-risk search warrant when she shot her gun through a window in purported self-defense and hit an officer. It was only afterward when JSO identified itself, the 911 call shows.
“She had no idea it was law enforcement in her home,” Kelly said. “Once they actually made their announcement, she completely complied”
Ford can be heard on the 911 call speaking in whispered, frightened tones when JSO identified themselves via what sounds like a loudspeaker from outside her home.
Listen to the 911 call below.
Diamonds Ford feared for her life!! This sadly reminds me of the night police killed Breonna Taylor in her home. Cops stormed into Diamonds’ home BEFORE they announced themselves, and she fired in self-defense!! #FreeDiamondsFord pic.twitter.com/pcp7St7pAT
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) November 19, 2020
Crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson told News 4 JAX that the 911 call should exonerate Ford.
“It’s clear based on the recording she just felt like someone was breaking into her house because she heard the glass breaking,” Jefferson said. “She reacted in protecting herself and her property, which she is allowed to do by law.”
Kelly, Ford’s attorney, said his client’s intent matters.
“I think that she would want everyone to know that she is not a cop killer, Kelly said, adding that Ford is not a flight risk and has never been convicted of a felony. “That she respects law enforcement and that at no time did she have any idea that the person she was firing shots at was indeed JSO.”
Aside from attempted murder, Ford and Gantt were also charged with armed possession of marijuana with intent to sell.
After hearing the 911 call, a judge still denied a lower bond for Ford and Gantt, keeping them locked up.
The officer who was shot in the incident was wearing a bulletproof vest and has since returned to full duty.
The situation shared a number of similarities with the police shooting that killed Breonna Taylor in March. In that case, police were trying to execute a no-knock warrant when Kenneth Walker — Taylor’s boyfriend — suspected an intruder and fired at the front door out of self-defense, hitting one of the officers while exercising the state’s stand your ground law. Police responded by blindly firing off a hail of bullets, killing Taylor who, prior to the shooting, had been sleeping. Walker was quickly charged with the attempted murder of a police officer before charges were ultimately dropped.