PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — A Pensacola family is still searching for answers months after their loved one was struck and killed by a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office cruiser. Blane Land, 62, was crossing the street when officer Timothy James struck him. Land was pronounced dead at the scene.
When the Land family started investigating what police ruled as an accident, they found a dozen complaints against the officer who was driving that vehicle.
“Anger, I can tell you,” said Barbara Land from her Pensacola home Thursday afternoon. She’s talking about her reaction to the situation unfolding since she believes her son was killed by officer negligence.
Barbara and her husband HC woke up at 2 in the morning May 11th to the knocking of Pensacola Police. They brought the news their son, 62-year-old Blane Land was hit and killed by a Jacksonville Sheriff’s cruiser as Land crossed the street. The cruiser, driven by Officer Tim James, was responding to a robbery behind another emergency vehicle. The cruiser emergency lights were not on.
Officer James was placed on administrative leave. Blane Land was pronounced dead at the scene.
Officially, it was ruled an accident. The Land family began investigating.
“The first few days we didn’t hear anything against James, except that he had hit our son and killed him,” said Barbara Land. “And then James then… starts beating on the 17-year-old, remember, that was in the back of a patrol car.”
One month later, James is arrested for allegedly beating a handcuffed teenager. He’s pleaded not guilty, and is now on desk duty, stripped of law enforcement power.
The Land’s investigation yielded results. Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office documents show 11 complaints filed against James since 2014. Now the Land family doesn’t want to stop searching.
“Try and do something because this should not have happened,” said Barbara Land, sharing how she reacted to finding out about the other complaints. “He should not have been out on the street, to begin with.”
Their lawyer put in a public records request for information about James and the department’s history.
“They want us to pay 300 and something thousand dollars for them to do that,” Barbara said of the JSO’s bill for the papers.
The Sheriff’s Office said the $314,687.91 price tag comes from a broad request that would include all materials in a 1,600 cubic foot room.
“It’s not right for us to have to go through this when we’re old enough to know things like this happen,” Land said.
James is one of seven Jacksonville Officers arrested since January. Other officers face charges like tampering with evidence and aggravated assault.
As the Land family continues to seek justice for their son’s death, they hope the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office will weed out bad cops.
“It’s the bad ones… You know?” Barbara said. “They need to be judged the same as the citizens.”
The Land family came together on July 22nd to scatter Blane’s ashes at Ft. Pickens. They say they are thankful for the help and support of their communities.