Gretna Police Officer Cleared, Family of Man Killed Files Lawsuit

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By: Lanetra Bennett
March 25, 2015

Gretna, FL - 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. However, Donald's family disagrees.

The family attorney filed a 15-page lawsuit Wednesday. It's against the City of Gretna and the police chief, Carlos De La Cruz.

"I smile, but, I hurt real bad inside," says, Kaldrick's mother, Juanita Donald.

A grand jury deemed that Gretna Police Sergeant Charles Brown was justified in shooting Kaldrick.

Juanita says, "They didn't care about what we said. It was just based on what he did and how it happened and how it went about. They were okay with it. It's like what we said, it was just dumped in the trash can."

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.

Kaldrick's mother and sister were both there, but, were not called in to be witnesses for the grand jury.

Attorney Craig J. Brown says, "They would've heard not only was Kaldrick tased multiple times, but, how SGT Brown went inside of the house and shot him seven times."

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."

Attorney Brown says, the family has filed a civil lawsuit because the police department was negligent, due to the many complaints from community members about Brown's aggressive attitude and behavior.

A portion of the lawsuit reads, "Defendants, were deliberately indifferent in that they either expressly or impliedly acknowledge and assented to the failure to train, supervise, control and/or otherwise screen City of Gretna police officers including, the officer involved in the events that caused the death of Kaldrick Donald."

Kaldrick's sister, Shameka Donald, says, "What he did was wrong. He took matters in his own hands. I just feel like, I don't feel comfortable at all."

The FDLE report concludes by saying, "This case has been investigated thoroughly and no crime was committed by Sgt. Brown that led to the death of Mr. Donald."

Brown is back on the police force.

Gretna Police Chief Carlos De La Cruz released the following statement:

"The Gretna Police Department does not comment on pending litigation, although we haven't received a formal notification as of yet. We understand that because of the high profile and sensitive work we do anyone at anytime can file a civil law suit against the police department.

A full investigation was conducted by an the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, with the full support of the Gretna Police Department. In this particular case the officer was cleared by the law enforcement agency, the facts of which were later presented to a Gadsden County Grand Jury and they also cleared the officer from any violation of the law. The use of deadly force is not a decision taken lightly by any officer, and the Gretna Police Department supports the men and women who risk their lives every day they come to work. A loss of life is always tragic for the family and friends of the deceased, and we sympathize with them."

By: Lanetra Bennett
November 13, 2014

Gretna, FL - The attorney for Kaldrick Donald's family tells us he has served a notice to the city of Gretna that the family plans to sue.

Police Sergeant Charles Brown shot 24-year-old Donald on October 28th.

Brown was responding to Donald's home because of concerns of Donald's mental state.

Donald's grandmother, Juanita, says, "It's been real real hard. I try my best to just live one day at a time. I have no appetite but I say the Lord will make a way. Everybody is going to have to pay for the wrongdoings that they did to my grandson.

Sgt. Brown is on administrative leave while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigates.

The case is expected to go before a grand jury within the next six weeks. The Donald Family Attorney says he will file the wrongful death lawsuit before then.

By: Chris Gros
November 6, 2014


Gretna, FL - The city of Gretna is still reeling after the death of Kaldrick Donald.

On Thursday emotions ran high during a march to Gretna City Hall.

Donald's family was joined a-long side friends, neighbors the Dream Defenders and even Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor.

They asked to see immediate justice for Kaldrick.

"I think demands are being made by the people we want something to happen but we also know that a grand jury has to convene and the grand jury will ultimately decide what's gonna happen with Sgt. Brown," said Donald family attorney Craig Brown.

"It has a cause and effect we're here to show support we're in our town showing support and being out in the streets trying to show our fight for justice but we should be here as well showing support for people in Gretna who are trying to do the same for Kaldrick," said Dream Defender Michael Sampson.

Donald was shot and killed in his home by Gretna Police Officer Sergeant Charles Brown. Sgt. Brown was called to the home after Donald’s mother called 911 asking to have her son committed because of his mental illness.

Sgt. Brown was taken to the hospital after, but investigators have not released how he was hurt.

Sgt. Brown is currently on administrative paid leave while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigates the shooting.

By: Lanetra Bennett
October 29, 2014

Gretna, FL - The name of the officer who shot and killed a man in Gretna while responding to a call Tuesday has been released. The chief says it's Sergeant Charles Brown.

The investigation into the shooting, as well as the murder-suicide the night before, has residents in disbelief.

With crime tape surrounding a church and more just blocks away blocking off a home, in a town as small as Gretna, Florida in Gadsden County, residents feel like it's a crime scene at every turn.

Gretna resident Francisco Chambers says, "I've never experienced this. Never. Not in Gretna. It ain't but 7,000 people here."

Monday night, a man and woman were found dead at a building at Glory Apostolic Faith Temple Church off Fourth Street. Police say it was a murder-suicide.

By 9:30 Tuesday morning, 24-year-old Kaldrick Donald was dead in his home on Cornelius Harris Lane. He was shot by SGT Charles Brown. Authorities say Brown was responding to a 911 call because of Donald's mental illness.

Residents say the two tragedies are bad enough, but the fact that they happened less than 24 hours apart, makes it more unbelievable.

Gretna resident Martha Clark says, "Stuff like this has never happened back to back like that. You hear about people dying, not about people getting shot or killed."

The police say because the department does not have the capacity to handle the murder-suicide, the case has been turned over to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

FDLE is also investigating Donald's death.

Chambers says, "Gretna has made more action in the last 24 hours than it has in the last 55 years. I've been here 55 years, so I can't figure this out."

The names in the murder-suicide have not been released. Neither have details of the events leading up to Sergeant Brown shooting Kaldrick Donald.

SGT Brown is on administrative paid leave until the conclusion of the investigation.

By: WCTV Eyewitness News
October 29, 2014

GRETNA, Fla. -- Gretna Police Chief Carlos De La Cruz has identified the officer involved in Wednesday's shooting.

De La Cruz says that the officer that was involved in the shooting was Sergeant Charles Brown.

Brown is currently on paid administrative leave. He will remain on leave until the Florida Department of Law Enforcement completes its investigation.

Other details about Sgt. Brown, including how long he has been with the department, are not available at this time.

By: Symone Davis
October 29, 2014

The screams and cries from 24-year-old Kaldrick Donald's family could be heard as a hearse pulled away Tuesday afternoon with his body inside.

Wayna Ward, family friend said, "I felt like he shouldn't of got shot like that, not shot down like a dog in his own house."

Early Tuesday morning Donald was shot and killed at his home on Cornelius Harris Lane.

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."

Authorities are still investigating the incident, saying their thoughts are with the family and friends of both parties involved.

"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.

The officer, who's name has not been released was also injured during that altercation and taken to a near-by hospital.

The Gadsden County Sheriff's Office says the officer was released from the hospital this afternoon.

By: Lanetra Bennett
October 28, 2014

Gretna, FL - A Gretna police officer shot and killed a man inside his home this morning.

We are still waiting to find out the name of the officer involved.

Juanita Donald says she knew her son, Kaldrick Donald, needed his medication because he was cursing at her. That's why she called the police, expecting them to take him to the Apalachee Center like before. But, this time, the responding officer shot and killed Kaldrick, while his mother and pregnant sister were there.

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

Donald says she called police around 9:30 Tuesday morning because her 24-year-old son had not taken his medication for mental illness.

Police were called to their home on Cornelius Harris Lane, formerly Canty Lane.

Donald says, "It wasn't but one officer. Instead of him calling for backup, he took things in his own hands and he goes in the house and he rush him and shoot him."

Gretna Police Chief Carlos De La Cruz says, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family. Since the investigation began, we have asked the Gadsden County Sheriff's Office as well as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to assist us."

Detectives say they're looking into what led to Donald's death and why the officer had to shoot.

Juanita says all Donald did was walk off from the officer and said he "didn't want to be bothered." She says, "Just grabbed him and he tased him. Then when he grabbed him and tased him, he rushed my son off in the bathroom and I heard three shots. I was like, you shot my son and he was like, I had to. I said, no, you didn't have to."

Donald says her son did not have a weapon.

The officer was taken to the hospital and has been released, but, investigators have not released how he was hurt.

Gadsden County Sheriff Morris Young says authorities were called to the same home the night before. He says, "They had a domestic issue. The sheriff's office looked into that and of course, we were dispatched again here at 9:28 a.m. and the Gretna Police Department responded."

The officer's name has not been released.

By: WCTV Eyewitness News
October 28, 2014

GRETNA, Fla. -- The Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office says that a Gretna Police Officer shot and killed a man while responding to a Baker Act call earlier this morning.

The incident happened on Cornelius Harris lane.

24-year-old Kaldrick Donald's mother told WCTV that she called police to help her with her son because he hadn't taken his medicine. She also said that she expected them to take him to the Apalachee Center like they normally do.

She was in the house along with her pregnant daughter during the incident.

Gretna's police chief says the officer is in the hospital and in stable condition and authorities say he was not shot. A GCSO spokesperson wouldn't say what caused the officer to shoot.

Gretna Police, GCSO and FDLE are currently investigating.

WCTV is at the scene and will update this story as more information becomes available.

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