NewsPolk County


Family calls for justice after deadly porta-potty incident in Polk County

Posted at 10:37 PM, Mar 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-30 09:10:31-04

BARTOW, Fla. — Through their loss, the family of 40-year-old Aaron Henderson is calling for answers.

"We just want the truth," said his brother Lenard Henderson.

Aaron Henderson

Aaron was killed on March 4, while at a job site at the North Central Landfill in Polk County.

According to the Polk County Sheriff's Office, he was run over by a bulldozer while using a porta-potty.

PCSO said the operator didn't see him, because the front blade of the bulldozer wasn't down all the way.

And though PCSO said they're still investigating, in the past, they have made this statement about the incident:

"An autopsy will be conducted at a later date but at this time it does appear to be a tragic, industrial accident."

Tuesday, in a statement to ABC Action News, PCSO said this:

"Our investigation is still open, however, at this stage it does not appear that anything criminal occurred."

They're statements that Henderson's family and Black Lives Matter Restoration Polk Inc. don't accept.

"Because of the Polk County Sheriff's Office statements, we are concerned with the integrity of the Polk County Sheriff's Office and their ability to be impartial when conducting an investigation of this magnitude," said Black Lives Matter Restoration Polk Inc. Co-founder, Carl Soto

The founder of Black Lives Matter Restoration Polk Inc., Jarvis J. Washington, told ABC Action News that they're not getting involved because of Henderson's race.

"So this isn't just a race issue, we don't try to pull race into everything that we do so when you see us just know it is not about race, the job isn't getting done and individuals need representation," he said.

The family and the group are now calling on the State Attorney's Office to step in.

"But we are here to demand criminal charges. This is unacceptable that Mr. Haas has yet to formally charge the bulldozer operator," said Soto.

They said they'd like to see that man charged with negligent homicide to help bring closure to the loss they're struggling to cope with.

"My mom is heartbroken. She is in the hospital. She can't really. It's killing her," said Lenard.

ABC Action News contacted the State Attorney's Office for the 10th Judicial Circuit, they released the following statement:

"We cannot comment on a pending and active investigation. All cases will be decided on the facts of the law if and when it’s submitted to us."

OSHA is also investigating Henderson's death and released this statement:

"OSHA has initiated an investigation into this tragic incident. At this time, we are unable to share anything further."

The Henderson family also told ABC Action News that they've hired well-known civil rights and personal injury attorney Ben Crump, to help them with their case.