Fact Check

Shooting Death of Kaldrick Donald: Justified or Excessive?

Gretna Police Sergeant Charles Brown was cleared by a grand jury in the controversial shooting death of Kaldrick Donald.

Published Nov 6, 2014


Claim:   Kaldrick Donald was unnecessarily shot and killed by a police officer after his mother called police for assistance in transporting him to a mental hospital.


Examples:   [Collected via e-mail, November 2014]

is this true?

Mother Calls Police to Help Her Son Take His Medicine, Cop Shows Up and
Shoots Him


Origins:   On 29 October 2014, a post from The Anti Media blog about the death of a 24-year-old Gretna, Florida, man named Kaldrick Donald was circulated via social media sites. The post described the shooting death of Donald at the hands of a Gretna police officer who has since been identified as Sergeant Charles Brown.

The account described the officer's actions as heavy-handed and the maintained Brown needlessly "escalated" the episode:

Charles Brown ended up tasing Kaldrick Donald repeatedly, and then took him into the isolated bathroom in the family's house and shot him multiple times, killing him.

Brown murdered Donald in the presence his pregnant sister and mother, and no one can even say why. He was completely unarmed, and somehow not completely sane.

His mother said "I heard my baby say, I want my mama after he shot him, and then I didn't hear anything else."

His mother said she was "expecting them to take him to the Apalachee Center like before", but instead a single officer came and escalated the situation, murdering him in front of his family.

The circulating account was indeed troubling but it lacked a number of elements necessary for it to be accepted at face value. On 28 October 2014 a local news station provided the following information about the incident in Gretna:

According to witnesses, Gretna PD was called to a home on Cornelius Harris Lane mid-morning. Witnesses tell WTXL that an officer shot and killed a person that was in the house. There is no word if any officers were injured. At this time it is unknown why police were called to the house, or what led up to the shooting.

On 29 October 2014, another local news source spoke with both Kaldrick Donald's mother Juanita and Ulysses Jenkins of Gadsden County Sheriff's Office. Juanita Donald stated that her son was first tased and then shot; Jenkins confirmed officers were summoned to the scene over a disturbance and indicated it was not clear why Brown shot Donald:

The Gadsden County Sheriff's office tells us they had received a call from Donald's mother saying her son needed to be taken to a mental hospital.

Once the officer got to Donald's house, he and the officer got into a fight.

Investigator Ulysses Jenkins of Gadsden County Sheriff's Office said, "The police officer arrived, a struggle ensued and from that point during the altercation and suspect is now deceased."

"Our hearts and minds are with them during this time, it's a very troubling incident but we're doing everything we can to support the officer and the family," said Jenkins.

In March 2015, a Gadsden County Grand Jury deemed that Gretna Police Sergeant Charles Brown was justified in his shooting of Kaldrick:

A grand jury has said Gretna Police Sgt. Charles Brown didn't do anything wrong during the October shooting death of 24-year-old Kaldrick Donald

Back on October 28th, Juanita called the police because her son hadn't taken his medication. She said when Sgt. Brown arrived, he was belligerent with Kaldrick. The two men ended up in the bathroom, where the shooting happened.

The investigative report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement says Kaldrick had punched Brown in his eye. It also says: "Sgt. Brown advised as the fight entered the bathroom, the floor gave way and his legs became pinned in the floor, leaving him trapped and defenseless. Sgt. Brown added he lost vision in his left eye due to the punches he sustained from Mr. Donald and began to feel lightheaded. Sgt. Brown added he believed his life was in immediate danger and that he was going to lose consciousness. This fear prompted Sgt. Brown un-holstered his firearm and began to fire it at Mr. Donald. Sgt. Brown stated Mr. Donald was on top of him during this time."

Last updated:   10 May 2015


    Bennett, Lanetra.   "Name Released of Gretna Police Officer Involved in Shooting."

    WCTV.   29 October 2014.

    Bennett, Lanetra.   "Gretna Police Officer Cleared, Family of Man Killed Files Lawsuit."

    WCTV.   25 March 2015.

    Jones, Kiki.   "Witnesses: Man Shot and Killed in Gretna Home."

    WTXL.   28 October 2014.

    Methyl, Cassius.

  "Mother Calls Police to Help Her Son Take His Medicine, Cop Shows Up and Shoots Him."

    TheAntiMedia.   29 October 2014.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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