Four teenage boys were playing video games at the home of a Tampa police officer last month when one of the teens was shot in the back of the head with his gun.
Now more than a month later, there are no details on who fired the shot that killed 15-year-old Bradley Hulett. No arrests have been made and no charges have been announced. We still don’t even know the name of the cop who owned the gun that killed the teen.
All we know is that cop was at work when Hulett was shot and that he has hired an attorney to represent himself and his son which is a good indicator on who fired the shot.
“Bradley was gaming, had headphones on with his friends, and one of the boys left the room, came back with a weapon, pointed it, fired, and hit him in the back of the head and killed him instantly,” the father of the victim, Brad Hulett, told Fox 13.
The attorney representing the cop and his son, Rick Escobar, told Fox 13 the gun used was not a service weapon and it was not supposed to have been loaded.
According to Escobar, the officer removed the magazine from the gun and stored it in a locked bedroom – like he always does – yet somehow the boys got in.
“When entrance was made into that particular room, it was not for the purposes of trying to find a gun or anything. It was really a benign reason why they went into that particular room,” said Escobar.
Escobar says, as for the bullet, there are many possible scenarios as to why it was in the chamber.
“When my client was removing the clip, he may have not removed the bullet from the chamber, although his procedure was to remove both of them, all the time,” Escobar explained. “Or it could’ve been that that bullet was inserted at some point in time. We’re in the process of still investigating that.”
It was around 4 p.m. on December 13 when Hulett was shot in the back of the head at the home, which is when the 911 call came in. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the shooting.
Culture of Misconduct and Coverup
The Tampa Police Department has had many misconduct cases amongst its officers. In June 2019 the state of Florida dropped 17 criminal conviction cases involving three officers who were fired after internal investigations into misconduct, Fox 13 Tampa Bay reports.
The officers’ violations included failing to file police reports and throwing away drug evidence. And in some cases, body cameras were turned off while people were being detained and questioned. Seven officers were reprimanded and the other three were fired.
Additionally, an internal investigation found Sergeant Edwin Bodamer and Corporal Eric Wilkinson violated policies related to their roles in enforcing department rules and policies, according to The Tampa Police Department.
Bodamer was demoted to the rank of master police officer and took a pay cut of more than $20,000. Wilkinson received a letter of reprimand.
Wilkinson’s reprimand letter says:
“During this time, you failed to observe clear and evident policy violations during your body worn camera checks. Moreover, you did not take appropriate corrective action.”
Also, a Tampa lawyer named Brent Yessin won a $300,000 lawsuit against the department in 2016 after he was beaten and arrested for telling a woman being arrested that she had the right to remain silent.
Yessin’s suit, which you can read here, stated two of the officers involved in the beating, Michael Leavy and Joseph Reeve, had been named in lawsuits that resulted in settlements.
“When you violate people’s civil rights you’re not enforcing the law, you’re breaking it, and it’s time the Tampa PD instructs its officers you can’t arrest, let alone hit, bystanders,” Yessin told the ABA Journal.