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Boca Raton mother shot to death in Coconut Creek; Officers' actions questioned

FDLE investigating use of force after fatal shooting of Brittni Muldrew
Brittni Muldrew, fatally shot by Coconut Creek police in stolen car
Posted at 12:56 PM, Feb 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-03 23:45:21-05

BOCA RATON, Fla. — For nearly four minutes, Coconut Creek police trained their weapons on Brittni Muldrew at what started as a routine traffic stop.

The officers had learned that the Mercedes she was driving was stolen. Muldrew had been out of jail for 10 days when she was pulled over for speeding.

Muldrew then made a fatal decision.

According to police, she "reversed the vehicle in the direction of the officers."

The car stopped and two Coconut Creek police officers fired their weapons.

A still image from the dash cam video from the night Brittni Muldrew was shot by Coconut Creek.

WPTV obtained dashcam and bodycam videos of the incident through a public record request to the Broward County state attorney.

The officers are seen dragging Muldrew from the car's passenger seat and another Coconut Creek officer removes his baton from his belt, striking Muldrew on the back of the head.

For a few seconds, the video shows Muldrew is still alive. Someone can be heard yelling that she has a pulse.

Her passenger, a friend who would be charged with grand theft auto, can be heard screaming in the background.

Muldrew's life ended at a strip mall in Coconut Creek in front of a Subway sandwich shop, 11 minutes after being pulled over for speeding. She was 36 years old.

Contact 5 spent months investigating the shooting, talking to experts as well as the mother of the Muldrew and her attorney.

Brittni Muldrew in happier times. The Boca Raton mother of two was shoot and killed by Coconut Creek police on Aug. 30.

Dashcam video obtained by Contact 5 shows the start of the traffic stop on Aug. 30, 2021.

"The reason why I'm stopping you today is you're going 73 in a 45," the officer told Muldrew.   

The officer is heard on the video asking Muldrew if the vehicle is registered to her.

"No, not to me," Muldrew said.   

The video shows the mother telling the officer that she doesn't have her driver's license.  

"It's suspended," Muldrew is heard telling the officer. "I messed up." 

Another officer arrives on the scene and minutes later the situation quickly escalates.  

Vicki Waters said she wants a transparent and fair investigation into the police shooting of her daughter.

The officers are heard telling Muldrew and her passenger, "Don't move" and "Get me additional units here."  

The video shows Muldrew and her passenger held at gunpoint by the officers.  

Court documents show "during the course of the stop, the officer was notified that the vehicle had just been stolen out of Parkland." 

"If you move, you understand what's going to happen?" an officer is heard saying while holding them at gunpoint.  

The video shows a K-9 officer arriving, and the scene quickly spirals out of control.  

After being held at gunpoint for three minutes and 54 seconds, officers shot the mother of two after, according to police, she "reversed the vehicle in the direction of officers."   

WPTV shared the video of the traffic stop and shooting with certified use of force expert Timothy Miller.    

"I clearly saw an imminent threat to the lives of the officers," Miller said. "Clearly, a K-9 officer and her dog were almost killed by the actions of what occurred there."   

Miller believes officers could have moved sooner to deescalate the situation. He said Muldrew didn't seem "fully coherent."

"I saw a lot of concerning tactics," Miller said. "They really needed to have her step out of that vehicle."   

A deputy's bodycam shows a Coconut Creek police officer approaching the car and pulling out his baton and striking Muldrew on what appears to be the back of her head.  

"No, no, no, no, pull her out, pull it out, pull her out, pull her out," someone at the scene is heard saying after the strike.   

Coconut Creek police told Contact 5 that "the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating all use of force aspects involved during that particular incident."  

Prosecutors will review the investigative report and decide whether further action should be taken.  

"If he realized that she had in fact been shot, that force would not have been — in my opinion — an appropriate use of force," Miller said.   

Dr. Maria Haberfeld, a use-of-force expert at John Jay College in New York, also watched both videos and told Contact 5 that the officers followed procedures and their training.   

"Use of force doesn't look pretty," she said. "It always looks excessive to the untrained eye. It always looks horrible."    

Muldrew's mother, Vicki Waters, spoke with Contact 5 about the shooting before we obtained video of the incident.   

"My grandchildren have no mother, and I'm out a daughter," Waters said. "It's something you'll never get over losing your daughter in such a tragic way. It's very tragic."   

Waters spoke candidly about her daughter's run-ins with law enforcement. Jail records show Muldrew had been released from the Palm Beach County Jail just 10 days before her death on a warrant for theft.    

"She wasn't perfect. None of us are perfect, but she was a good-hearted person," Waters said.  

After the release of the videos, Waters' attorney, Michael George, told Contact 5 that the family plans on filing a wrongful death lawsuit.  

"It is apparent to us that these police officers lost control of the situation, and we do not believe that their actions of deadly force were justified," George wrote in a statement to Contact 5.

Waters is now raising her daughter's two children and is looking for accountability.  

"I won't see that smile ever again," Waters said. "She was always smiling, and the hardest part is for children now."    

A Coconut Creek police spokesperson told Contact 5 it would be inappropriate to comment on the video at this time since the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating.  

The chief fully reinstated the officers involved in the shooting from administrative leave.  

But Waters hopes her lawsuit will shed light on police use of force, her attorney said.

"We hope, in the future, police brutality and the use of excessive deadly force will come to an end and justice will be served for Brittni," George said.

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