The family of a man shot and killed by Greene County sheriff's deputies last month believes he should still be alive. The family of Joshua Ford spoke to a KY3 News reporter on Friday.
Patrol car dash camera video released by the Greene County Sheriff's Department on Thursday shows deputies ordering the 33-year-old man to show his hands. After deputies pleaded for a couple of minutes with Ford to not make them shoot him, a veteran deputy, Cpl. Michael Hurney, fired his gun when Ford advanced toward him.
"It was surreal. It was like a bad nightmare," said Ford's younger sister, Jessica Ford.
Jessica Ford remembers Dec. 1, 2013, the night it happened. She said her brother had been staying with her but did not return home that night. Like investigators, Ford said she has no idea how her brother got to a home on Farm Road 45, next to Interstate 44 south of Bois D'Arc.
"Now my brother's gone forever. We can't ever ask him what he was doing out there, how he got there, all the questions everybody wants to know the answers to. We can't ask him now," she said.
Joshua Ford's driver's license was revoked due to a drunken driving conviction. Back out of jail, Jessica Ford said her brother was working a construction job five days a week and was trying to rebuild his life. She said he was someone whom her young children admired.
"He was my brother. Josh wasn't perfect, but Josh was working. Josh was doing things to try and better his life whenever this happened," Jessica Ford said.
For the family, the most difficult moment to watch in the dash cam video is when one of the deputies called out, "He doesn't have anything."
The Ford family believes deputies did not have to fire fatal shots. They believe Ford's sweater got caught in the trees, and it appears to them that Ford's hands were in the air, though briefly, before he fell to the ground.
The weapon that Ford was holding was nothing more than a cellular telephone. However, based on a Greene County Sheriff's Department investigation and a review of the evidence, county prosecutors ruled the shooting was justified.
"I think probably the question is, 'Could you react in under four-tenths of a second, and you still perceive a threat, so what do you do?' I think Deputy Hurney made the right decision," said Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott on Tuesday.
Ford's family disagrees with the findings.
"It's been really hard, really hard. Josh had people that loved him, and he still does," Jessica Ford said.
An attorney for the Ford family said they will request the Missouri State Highway Patrol to conduct its own independent review of the case to determine if deputies followed proper procedures. Arnott said he didn't ask the Highway Patrol to "shadow" or assist his department's investigation because he believes his department has enough resources to conduct an independent internal investigation.