TAMPA, FL. – A high-profile lawsuit filed against the City of Tampa and Tampa Police Department has been examined by The Free Press (TFP). A review of Plaintiff video footage, television, and radio interviews, court documents, and military records shed light on inconsistencies of public interest in the case of Jordon Tyler v. the City of Tampa.
25-year-old Jordon (Tyler) Coury, a white male last known as a Brandon resident, was struck in the back of the head by a rubber bullet discharged by a still unknown Tampa Police officer.
The incident occurred on May 31, 2020, during a George Floyd – Black Lives Matter protest that was taking place around Curtis Hixon Park in Tampa.
According to Coury’s attorney, Benjamin Crawford of Crawford and Giddings Law Firm in Brandon, there has been no investigation by the City into this incident, and no explanation was given to The Free Press (TFP) regarding the police department’s rubber bullet discharge rules.
Several TV, radio, and online news reports relayed Coury’s misfortune. WMNF 88.5 FM Radio interviewed Coury, accompanied by Crawford.
Coury said, “It’s something that you never expect to happen to you. Being a righteous man mostly in my whole life, I’ve never done anything wrong, maybe little white lies as a kid or anything, at the most. But like, I’ve never done anything to deserve something like this.”
Coury added, “I’ve always been on the same side (of police),” and “I dream of having people doing wrong to me.”
However, research into Coury’s background, through the perusal of court records and speaking with officials, tells a slightly different story.
In April 2015, while Coury was affiliated with the Army National Guard before joining the U.S. Army Reserves, Coury and an accomplice burglarized a closed Brandon Walmart three times within hours to steal a variety of computer, bike, and toy products.
At a pawn shop, Coury falsified information to get cash, claiming he owned the items pawned. Coury was charged with six felonies, five of which he was found guilty after claiming he was not.
Months later in 2016, Coury was charged again – this time – for battery/domestic violence, plus additionally charged for violating previously-established probation. He then failed to appear in court on his battery charge.
A criminal report indicates Coury and his live-in girlfriend began hitting each other inside their apartment home. The roughhousing moved outside to the yard, where the hitting continued and Coury allegedly threw her to the ground.
Police also cited him in previous years for obstruction or absence of his auto tag and driving with a suspended license. Most recently in 2017, Coury was charged with resisting an officer without violence and petit theft.
According to court records, Coury’s multi-felony sentence, sending him to Florida State prison, was vacated and case time was considered served by the judge, who apparently placed Coury on probation. He served no time for his criminal misdemeanor for battering a woman.
TFP contacted Grayson Kamm, Chief Communications Officer for the State Attorney’s Office, and asked why Coury didn’t serve time for battery against a woman. Kamm was direct. “Judge Perry dismissed the (domestic violence) case and we don’t know why. We didn’t drop it from prosecution. We were moving forward and went to court when it was dismissed.”
Kamm also explained that Coury was given a one-year plus one-day sentence for violating probation, saying the extra day of sentencing was done to ensure he served time in state prison and not just county jail. It appears he served only two weeks in the state facility.
TFP searched for answers as to why the court consistently reduced or dismissed charges against Coury, with the domestic violence charge – which was examined by the State Attorney’s office – requiring no time. What is known is that Coury was deemed indigent and was represented by public defenders in both cases against him.
Requests for information have been placed with the public defender’s office, but there have been no responses.
Now, Coury is awaiting possible discharge from the U.S. Army Reserves due to his ongoing physical and cognitive injuries, according to attorney Brian Giddings.
There are inconsistencies as to why Coury says he attended the protest in Tampa that day.
On his GoFundMe page, Coury, who has raised over $400 thus far, declared, “I was shot in the back of the head by the Tampa Police Department while peacefully protesting at a Black Lives Matter event on May 31st at Curtis Hixon Park.” However, he has also said that he was just an observer.
In a WMNF 88.5 FM Radio interview, Coury said, “I just had a few friends that were interested in going to the area…and they just were interested in going and seeing. And I thought it’d be okay.”
The lawsuit states that “Plaintiff Jordon Coury was present in the crowd of peaceful protesters when the unknown officer began firing rubber bullets into the crowd. Relying on his military training, Coury tried to lead the protesters to safety from the assault by the police officer. In doing so, Plaintiff Jordon Coury was struck by a rubber bullet in the back of the head and thrown to the ground.”
Yet, a video sent to TFP by Coury’s attorney recorded him as saying, “I was just f—–g sittin’ there. I got hit in the back of the head.” Coury’s attorney, Benjamin Crawford stated this video was Coury’s production and that he believed it was Coury’s voice stating he was “just sitting there” when the rubber bullet struck him.
Crawford was asked if he had any evidence of Coury’s alleged heroic military actions as written in the lawsuit, he replied, “No I do not. We just have what Coury told us.”
Although Giddings said the fact remains that Coury was shot in the head by a rubber bullet whether he was protecting others or not.
Some news reports, right after Coury was struck with a rubber bullet, refer to him as a former E-4 U.S. Marine, but official records deny that Coury ever served in the Marine Corps.
News Channel 8 WFLA wrote on June 3, 2020, that Coury was a Marine E-4 specialist. On March 30, 2021, Coury made this statement on the WFLA video: “I’ve always been an outstanding civilian and a soldier ever since I was an able-bodied adult.”
Other news outlets followed suit on Coury’s U.S. Marine status. But an official inquiry documents him as a specialist in the U.S. Army Reserve starting in 2019, and in the Army National Guard starting in 2014, at the age of 19.
Although the possible U.S. Marine claims may have occurred before Crawford and Giddings became Coury’s attorneys, they did not respond to an opportunity for Coury to explain his past for this story.
Tampa Police Department will not comment on pending litigation.