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ONE MONTH LATER: Family of man shot and killed by Fort Pierce police hasn’t seen body camera footage

Bernard Smith’s family is frustrated with lack of information around his death
Bernard Smith
Posted at 5:47 PM, Jun 18, 2024

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — The family of a man shot and killed by a Fort Pierce police officer expressed their frustration over the lack of information provided about their son’s death earlier in May.

Police said it believes Bernard Smith shot three people — two died — on May 18 then shot at police before an officer shot and killed Smith, 28. The family said it’s frustrated they haven’t been shown body camera footage to corroborate police narratives.

“There’s been no body camera footage that has been shown to me or my family or no one else,” Albert Smith, Bernard’s dad, said on Tuesday. “Every other county shows video footage of the gun of the person shooting at, we haven’t gotten none of that. There’s been no gun that’s been shown to us. There’s no pictures of a gun that was shown to us. There was no gun around his body. He was murdered.”

Smith believes his child was murdered and police manufactured a narrative around his death.

“They are degrading him,” Smith said. “Accusing him of things he didn’t do. We’re tired. We’re tired of the lies. We’re tired of the cover-up that’s going on.”

Both Albert and April Smith, Bernard's mother, who also spoke on Tuesday night, expressed their apologies to the victims' families at the meeting. Police identified Devin Bradley, 24, and Roosevelt Benjamin, 59, as those killed in the shootings.

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Benjamin, according to family, was the definition of a “girl dad” and worked for the United States Postal Service for more than 20 years. Tonia Thomason, who identified herself as Benjamin's daughter, told WPTV in May he provided for his family.

"Even though he was deaf, he just made sure that we [weren't] limited on anything," Thomason said. "He provided for us. He took care of us. My mom was a majority stay-at-home wife. He just did everything in our power to make us happy."

Quinton Johnson, who was Devin Bradley’s stepdad, said his stepson was a musician and working on a degree. He also said he worked for the Fort Pierce Police Department as an IT worker.

"It's like a bad dream that I wish I could wake up from, and he's like here again," Johnson said. "It's setting in day by day. It seems like every time I'm talking about it I feel myself tearing up. I feel like a part of me is missing now."

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In a Facebook post, the department called Bradley an “incredible person” who “inspired and uplifted many people” in the agency. The department also described him as full of life.

“At work, he would wear the biggest smile and be very personable with his co-workers," read the post. "He had a good work ethic and strived to do all he could to assist with our IT needs. He will be missed for his contagious smile and personable character.”

The man who survived the shootings was identified as Craig Robinson, 50.

April Smith said their family just wants answers on details related to the shooting of their son. She said her family is spending money on funeral expenses out of pocket because it hasn’t been able to access a police report.

“Why are we waiting on ballistics?” Smith asked. “Why are we still waiting to see body camera footage? You’re still putting out a statement that he was shooting at you. We keep asking for a video.”

Smith said the police said it’s an ongoing investigation as an excuse for not showing body camera footage. Fort Pierce Police Department previously said the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is conducting the investigation.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said in a statement: "FDLE continues to investigate the officer involved shooting, and we understand the family’s desire for answers. We conduct a thorough investigation including collecting and processing evidence, conducting interviews, reviewing forensic and medical examiner reports, and doing a second-by-second, minute-by-minute review of recordings, and this does require time."

WPTV reached out to the Fort Pierce Police Department and did not hear back.