Florida Senate - 2024 (NP) SB 20 By Senator Rouson 16-00066-24 202420__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act for the relief of Reginald Jackson by the City 3 of Lakeland; providing an appropriation to compensate 4 Reginald Jackson for injuries and damages sustained as 5 a result of the negligence of Mike Cochran, a police 6 officer with the Lakeland Police Department; providing 7 a limitation on the payment of compensation and 8 attorney fees; providing an effective date. 9 10 WHEREAS, on October 18, 2001, Officer Mike Cochran of the 11 Lakeland Police Department stopped Reginald Jackson for driving 12 with an invalid license tag after the officer incorrectly typed 13 the tag number into his computer and it was, therefore, 14 identified as invalid, and 15 WHEREAS, Officer Cochran then issued a citation to Mr. 16 Jackson for transporting his girlfriend’s 18-month-old brother 17 without a car seat and forbade Mr. Jackson from moving the 18 vehicle without properly restraining the child, and 19 WHEREAS, Mr. Jackson asked if Officer Cochran could escort 20 his vehicle to his home a short distance away, but the officer 21 refused and directed Mr. Jackson to use an immediately adjacent 22 pay phone to call someone to bring a car seat for the child, and 23 WHEREAS, after the stop, Officer Cochran drove away and 24 positioned himself in an alley parallel to the site of the 25 initial stop and observed Mr. Jackson drive to a pay phone in 26 the next block, which Mr. Jackson did after determining that the 27 immediately adjacent pay phone was not operational, and 28 WHEREAS, while Mr. Jackson attempted to use the second pay 29 phone, Officer Cochran approached him and told him that he was 30 under arrest for disobeying a law enforcement officer, and 31 WHEREAS, Mr. Jackson was startled by the officer and ran 32 back to his vehicle, got inside, backed up a short distance, and 33 then drove forward without pressing the gas pedal, and 34 WHEREAS, when Officer Cochran told Mr. Jackson to stop the 35 vehicle or he would shoot, Mr. Jackson then pumped his brakes 36 twice, and the officer fired a .45 caliber bullet through the 37 windshield which struck Mr. Jackson in the neck and exited 38 through his back, and 39 WHEREAS, Mr. Jackson was unarmed and seated next to an 18 40 month-old child, and 41 WHEREAS, after the shooting, the police transported the 42 child to the police station in a marked vehicle without a child 43 safety seat, and 44 WHEREAS, as a result of the injury, Mr. Jackson will suffer 45 pain and be disabled for the rest of his life, and 46 WHEREAS, Officer Cochran, as an employee of the Lakeland 47 Police Department acting within the scope of employment, owed a 48 duty to Mr. Jackson to conduct himself in a reasonable manner 49 and exercise reasonable care, but he breached that duty by 50 discharging his firearm through Mr. Jackson’s windshield in a 51 careless and negligent manner, and 52 WHEREAS, a jury in the Circuit Court of the Tenth Judicial 53 Circuit in and for Polk County awarded Mr. Jackson $412,500 in 54 damages, and 55 WHEREAS, due to the limits of s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, 56 at the time of the incident, Mr. Jackson has collected only 57 $100,000 of his judgment against the City of Lakeland, and the 58 remainder may be recovered only through passage of a claim bill 59 by the Legislature, NOW, THEREFORE, 60 61 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 62 63 Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are 64 found and declared to be true. 65 Section 2. The City of Lakeland is authorized and directed 66 to appropriate from funds of the city not otherwise appropriated 67 and to draw a warrant payable to Reginald Jackson for the sum of 68 $312,500 as compensation for injuries and damages sustained. 69 Section 3. The amount paid by the City of Lakeland pursuant 70 to s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and the amount awarded under 71 this act are intended to provide the sole compensation for all 72 present and future claims arising out of the factual situation 73 resulting in the shooting of Reginald Jackson as described in 74 this act. The total amount paid for attorney fees relating to 75 this claim may not exceed 25 percent of the amount awarded under 76 this act. 77 Section 4. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.