SPD officers acquitted in McGlothen’s death | New

SHREVEPORT, La. — Four Shreveport police officers charged with the in-custody death of Tommie McGlothen Jr. were acquitted Friday morning in Caddo Parish District Court as Judge Chris Victory ruled in favor of the defense.

The state had just closed its case Thursday night when the defense requested an acquittal. This is a common defense request that is often not granted.

Tommie McGlothen Jr.

Victory heard arguments from attorneys representing Shreveport officers Brian Ross, D’Marea Johnson, Treona McCarter and James LeClare. And after careful consideration, he decided to sleep on it and announce his decision on Friday morning.

Ross, Johnson, McCarter and LeClare have been charged with negligent homicide and embezzlement of office in connection with McGlothen’s death in April 2020.

“I am heartbroken by the decision and I am very disappointed with this decision. Because for me, not only have I lost my brother, but I have lost my sense of community. Those who are placed in a position of serve and protect, I don’t trust them at all anymore,” LaQuita McGlothen, younger sister of Tommie McGlothen, said after the verdict was announced.

Said Tommie McGlothen III: “We’re very disappointed. I mean, you know, for our justice system to let a man die unresponsive in the back of a police cruiser and walk free and not to be disciplined for it. So I just feel like that raises the bar for more corruption here in Shreveport.”

McGlothen family and lawyer

McGlothen family attorney James Carter (right) stands with Tommie McGlothen III (center) and LaQuita McGlothen (left).

Tommie McGlothen died in police custody after fighting with officers accused of using force to detain him. He had a history of mental problems and had already had two encounters with police earlier on the day of his death.

The Caddo Parish coroner testified during the four-day trial that McGlothen died of excited delirium, which is not a well-recognized condition. But he said the cause of death was natural. And the pathologist who performed the autopsy said he could not determine the cause of McGlothen’s death.

The Caddo District Attorney’s Office hired an outside medical examiner who disagreed with Thoma and ruled McGlothen’s death a homicide.

Another expert witness hired from out of state on Thursday testified that officers violated the use of political procedures in their treatment of McGlothen

Lawyer Dhu Thompson, who represented LeClare, said cases should be decided on facts and evidence and that is what happened.

Lawyers for SPD officers

Left to right: defense attorneys Sarah Giglio, Shante Wells and Dhu Thompson. Not shown: Eron Brainard.

“I think that’s very important and I think the judge considered that with the credibility of the claim itself when the Shreveport Police Department looked into it thoroughly, and again, let me To be clear, there is nothing the Shreveport Police Department did that was wrong,” he said. “This investigation has been thorough. It has taken time. I support what the investigators have done to develop the case, but all they can do is develop the case. They cannot create facts and adjust things All they do is get believable So I can’t find anything wrong with what the Shreveport Police Department has done I can’t find anything wrong with what the lead detective did. I find no fault with the state police, the U.S. attorney’s office, or anyone who has reviewed this criminal charges other than the district attorney’s office.”

The four officers did what they were trained to do and were prosecuted for it, said attorney Eron Brainard, who represented Johnson. “I think it was unfortunate. … I’m really glad they were acquitted.”

Lawyer Shante Wells, who represented McCarter, said: “The court saw that this was a case of misplaced blame. And that these families, these officers can go back to some kind of normalcy, or the least start this stage. It’s been difficult for all the families, including I’m sure the McGlothen family, but I’m glad they were found not guilty.”

RELATED ARTICLE – National expert says SPD officers violated use of force policy in man’s death

Support for police officers also came in the form of a statement from the Shreveport Police Officers Association.

“Today our faith in the justice system has been renewed. For the SPOA members who have had to endure this life-changing persecution, you have our utmost respect. The political atmosphere of this country and this state should never be the motivation of any elected official, including the Caddo Parish District Attorney,” said association president Michael Carter.

He added: “Today we are grateful for the verdict delivered by Judge Chris Victory. We have looked at the testimonies of prosecution witnesses every day, including expert witnesses, who have confirmed the complete absence of factual evidence against our members. We were certain from the beginning that the district attorney’s office never had evidence to charge our members with any crime.”

James Carter, an attorney representing the McGlothen family in their federal wrongful death lawsuit, said he was disappointed with the court’s decision and vowed it wasn’t over.

“We will continue our pursuit of justice in this matter. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. The entire North Louisiana community and the nation should be concerned that you may have a situation where a decision is rendered with overwhelming evidence of the abuse and ultimate death of a disabled, mentally handicapped man whose family was simply seeking help and it ended in his untimely death,” Carter said. moving forward. We will pursue this matter in the civil courts and seek justice. We don’t give up. We demand justice and we are deeply disappointed and the family is obviously hurt and disappointed. There was all kinds of abuse There is a videotape showing the abuse that ultimately caused Mr. McGlothen’s death. And we are very very disappointed with this result but we continue.

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