ORLANDO, Fla. — Newly released discovery documents in the Markeith Loyd case are shedding light on how investigators determined Orlando Police were justified in their use of force when arresting him.
- Accused killer claims he was following officers' commands
- Markeith Loyd was wearing bulletproof vest when arrested
- READ IT: Full report on FDLE findings (PDF)
Loyd is facing two murder trials, one in the death of his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon, in December 2016, and one in the slaying of Orlando Police Lt. Debra Clayton a month later.
Last week, prosecutors concluded the police department's use of force when arresting Loyd in January 2017 was justified. While being taken into custody, Loyd sustained obvious injuries to his head and left eye, including a swollen face. He later lost vision in that eye.
The newly released documents consist of hundreds of pages of evidence, along with several hours of audio and video that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement considered when coming to its conclusion last week: that Orlando Police lawfully arrested Loyd.
After his arrest in January 2017, it didn't take long for Loyd to call into question Orlando Police officers' use of force against him while he was taken into custody.
His injuries were clear: His face swollen, Loyd sustained injuries to his back, head, and left eye, eventually losing vision in that eye.
A state attorney from outside Orange County looked into whether the force that caused those injuries was justified.
Part of the evidence shows that officers were advised of Loyd’s size and strength, familiarity with firearms, and his use of a bullet-proof vest before they even showed up to the house where he'd been hiding out for weeks.
Evidence also showed that when police tried to arrest Loyd, he repeatedly refused to obey commands.
"When I reached Loyd, I believed my life, as well as the lives of others were in imminent danger of being killed or seriously injured," one sergeant who struck Loyd told use-of-force investigators.
However, when FDLE interviewed Loyd during the investigation, Loyd claimed he was following orders up to the point when Orlando Police officers struck him several times.
- FDLE: "When they ultimately get up to you, were there any commands given to you then — right before they touch you?"
- Loyd: "No."
- FDLE: "There was no commands?"
- Loyd: "No sir."
- FDLE: "OK. What is it that you recall happened just before they put hands on you?"
- Loyd: "I heard one of them say, 'He's got body armor on,' and the next thing I know, I was gone."
Despite Loyd saying he was following officers' commands, FDLE investigators concluded that if Loyd was following orders, evidence shows he would not have sustained the injuries he did.
The state attorney said based on the office's findings, it would be taking no further action in the matter.