Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy Benjamin Stamps and other deputies on Sunday morning had a perilous encounter with a seemingly suicidal individual who would have normally been Baker Acted, but ended up facing numerous charges for allegedly assaulting the officers as he sought to be shot by the deputies. Stamps’s Taser twice failed to stop the individual in the encounter, but eventually brought the situation under control with two other deputies.
Deputies were called to 16 Commander Court Sunday morning around 10 a.m. A verbal disturbance had evolved into a fight involving Kevin Raby, a 43-year-old resident at that address who has a history of mental illness. He’d been reported to have gone without sleep for five days. As soon as Stamps arrived, Raby approached him rapidly, prompting Stamps to order him loudly to stay back.
“You know who I am,” Raby said as he continued to approach, according to his arrest report. Raby is a convicted felon, from a 2009 conviction for cocaine possession, after he failed out of drug court. He’s had other, more minor arrests, though the majority of his encounters with law enforcement, and there have been many, were through traffic stops.
Raby, who did not appear to be armed, told Stamps several times to shoot him. “I gave several more loud verbal commands and attempted to put distance between myself and Kevin while he continued to close the distance between us,” Stamps reported. “I then drew my Taser model X2 and again told Kevin to stay back. Kevin continued his march towards me, telling me to shoot him, and after many loud verbal commands that were ignored I deployed my Taser, which proved ineffective. Kevin then began to charge towards me in an aggressive manner. Upon realization of my Taser cartridge having no effect I deployed my second cartridge which also had no effect.”
The deputy at that point wrestled Raby to the ground, positioning himself on top of him. His body camera fell off. He ordered Raby to “get off my gun,” as Raby’s hands were free, “and he was attempting to free items from the right side of my duty belt where my agency issued Glock 22 is located. Kevin was thereby attempting to deprive me of my means of defending myself,” the deputy reported. Raby managed to remove the deputy’s ASP expandable baton from its holster on his right hip, and the deputy was unable to restrain him.
“However, I removed my ASP from his possession as we rose from the ground,” the deputy reported. “I continued giving Kevin loud verbal commands to get on the ground and stay back, which he ignored. Kevin retrieved my Axon bodycam and personal cell phone from the road and feigned several attacks on my person with the devices.”
As Raby continued to advance toward the deputy, in the deputy’s account, “I delivered approximately three strikes to Kevin’s left outer thigh area with my ASP. All of which proved ineffective as Kevin continued to advance towards me.”
At that point Raby told the deputy that he was Jesus Christ, and that the deputy was going to die–a situation eerily reminiscent in some ways of a situation almost exactly eight years ago, when deputies responded to a call on Brownstone Lane where a man with mental health issues was said to be walking the street with a Bible in one hand and a machete in the other.
The man’s family had initiated the call, requesting what would have been a Baker Act, or the involuntary commitment in a psychiatric facility for evaluation and observation.
of an individual who may be harming himself or others. Two deputies eventually shot and killed the man, 32-year-old Troy Gordon, in his garage–the last incident involving a deputy-involved fatality in Flagler County. (The family long disputed the sheriff’s office’s account of the incident or that the killing was justified, though it never followed through with a lawsuit and an FDLE investigation cleared the agency.)
Two deputies arrived at the scene, including deputy Brandon Fiveash–who was one of the two deputies involved in the shooting eight years ago, though Fiveash only fired his Taser (successfully), not his gun. They also wrestled Raby to the ground, and he “received several more drive stuns from Tasers that were ineffective in gaining compliance,” Stamps reported. He was finally secured in handcuffs and placed in back of a patrol vehicle before being taken to the Flagler County jail by way of AdventHealth Palm Coast, for medical clearance.
Raby’s 69-year-old mother was present throughout the encounter, Stamps reported, “attempting to get Kevin to stop his violent actions.” She wrote in a statement that her son suffers from bipolar disorder and that he’d been “acting crazy” after lack of sleep for so many days. “She witnessed Kevin charge the deputy on scene and would not give up,” the arrest report states. Another witness from a neighboring house wrote in a statement of seeing Raby attack the officer and getting struck in return, though he was “unresponsive to strikes to his legs from the officer’s baton.” Yet another witness reported looking out his window and seeing a man fight with a deputy, and that “once off the ground the man continued to yell and swing at the officer until more deputies arrived on scene.”
Raby faces charges of aggravated assault on a police officer, battery on a police officer, and resisting arrest with violence, all felonies. He remains at the county jail on $17,500 bond.