Florida officer faces manslaughter charge in man's death

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Posted at 4:22 PM, Jun 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-01 16:22:54-04

TITUSVILLE, Fla. — A Florida police officer will be prosecuted on a manslaughter charge following the fatal shooting of a man he chased on foot last December, authorities said Wednesday.

Joshua Payne, an officer with the Titusville Police Department along Florida's Space Coast, turned himself in to jail on Wednesday.

On the day after Christmas, the officer attempted to stop James Lowery who matched a description of a suspect in a domestic battery complaint, according to a report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which investigated the death.

Payne pursued Lowery, and during the chase, Payne twice fired a Taser at Lowery, but it was ineffective. At a gate to a home, Lowery turned toward Payne and threw a bag of narcotics over the fence, the report said.

Payne repeatedly told Lowery to drop what was in his hand and drew his firearm while holding the Taser. The officer told Lowery to "get down," but Lowery climbed over the gate. With Lowery on the other side of the gate, Payne simultaneously pulled the trigger on is firearm and Taser, hitting Lowery in the back of his head and killing him, the FDLE report said.

No weapons were found on Lowery or near him, according to the report.

Online court records didn't list an attorney for Payne.