FLORIDA: Jury Recommends Death Sentence in Killing of Two Kissimmee Police Officers

Photo: Everett Miller in court as jury recommends death for the killing of two police in 2017 

By Ben Robinson

Last Wednesday, an Osceola County jury recommended the death penalty for Everett Glenn Miller, convicted of first-degree murder on September 11 for killing two Kissimmee police officers in August 2017.

On the night of the shooting, Miller approached officer Matthew Baxter as he was harassing three people and asked him why he was “messing with [his] people.” When Baxter called his superior officer Sergeant Richard Howard over, Miller told the police that he was in fear of his life and had a concealed weapon. The three bystanders were then ordered to leave, and immediately afterwards Miller shot Baxter and Howard.

Miller was a marine who worked in Iraq, and later an independent defense contractor who worked in Afghanistan. During his time as a contractor, he conducted drone strikes, many times killing bystanders, over which he felt remorse and regret. Miller’s mental health deteriorated over the months leading up to the killings, as he became homeless and jobless and went in and out of mental care. His defense attorney, Roseanne Eckert, argued that Miller had PTSD as a result and was not himself when he attacked the police, saying that “there was no doubt that Glenn Miller was out of his mind that summer.”

Everett Miller dancing with family at a celebration

To argue against the death penalty sentence, the defense played home videos of Miller in happier times, dancing with his family at a celebration in full marine uniform. His sister was compelled to take the stand as the state called witnesses, but she defiantly refused to testify against her brother, saying she didn’t, “even know why she was [there].” She pushed back against the state and local police telling them, “I mean you have harassed me enough. Coming to my house and harassing me and my family with guns and stuff, so what do you want me to get up and say?”

Miller’s Sister gives a defiant testimony, refusing to testify against her brother

The prosecutors of course ignored any claims of Miller’s mental health troubles, and claimed that Miller, motivated by hatred of police and anti-government beliefs, wanted to “make a statement.” They cited his Facebook page on which he reposted images and articles denouncing the US, the KKK, and the police for their murders of unarmed black people. The page, under the name Malik Mohammad Ali, reflects an eclectic mix of beliefs, showing videos of Fred Hampton of the Black Panthers and posts comparing modern sports to slavery.

The bourgeois liberal non-profit, Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors what it calls ‘hate groups’ in the US, characterized Miller as a “Moorish Sovereign Citizen” and an “anti government extremist.” While liberal NGOs will lump the actions of Miller in with the very reactionaries he opposed, the state itself seeks to make a statement – that anti-police and anti-imperialist views are irrational and abhorrent, and that the only end for those who uphold them is a lonely death.

Miller, overcome by guilt and anger at the state’s violence against the masses and his participation in its imperialist wars, lashed out against its enforcers. He saw the police for what they are – enemies of the people. Alienated from the masses, Miller turned to lone wolf actions to defend people from police harassment and violence. Ultimately his example is a negative one, the inevitable conclusion of ideology removed from class struggle. It is the organized masses who make history, and they alone who will smash US imperialism, and ultimately do away with class society and oppression.