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4 Louisiana Police Officers Charged in the Death of 44-Year-Old Black Man Who Suffered From Mental Health Issues

Illustration for article titled 4 Louisiana Police Officers Charged in the Death of 44-Year-Old Black Man Who Suffered From Mental Health Issues
Photo: Shutterstock

On April 5, 44-year-old Tommie McGlothen died while in police custody in Shreveport, La. In June, The Root reported that McGlothen’s family was originally told by police that he died of a heart attack, but cell phone video footage released that month showed something different. Now, four Shreveport police officers are charged with negligent homicide and malfeasance in connection with his death.

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Here’s what we reported in June:

The police were responding after McGlothen allegedly got into a fight with someone in the neighborhood. In April, Shreveport police told McGlothen’s family that he suffered a heart attack, but when the family went to view his body, they discovered he had a broken nose, broken jaw and the entire right side of his face was swollen.

Understandably, the family wants answers as to why Shreveport police didn’t publicly acknowledge McGlothen’s death and why they misled the family about the circumstances surrounding it.

“I just wanted to know what happened,” Tommy McGlothen III, McGlothen’s son, told KSLA. It took 54 days for the Shreveport Police Department to send an investigative report to District Attorney James Stewart. Even then, Stewart said the file was “missing reports, statements, downloads and other vital information essential to conduct a thorough and complete review.”

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The video footage aired exclusively on KSLA 12 showed a white male officer hit McGlthen in the back as a Black female officer tried to hold him down.

From KSLA:

The video that KSLA Investigates recorded with a small camera off a cellphone gets shaky next showing the female officer rolling over and getting up, when the male cop kicks McGlothen.

At this point it’s difficult to see on the wobbly video but when officers try rolling the 44-year-old man over to handcuff him, McGlothen appears to stiffen up.

That’s when the male cop, now standing over McGlothen, punches him four times.

McGlothen is then heard screaming out as witnesses say police began tasing him behind a parked car.

Stacey spoke with four people witnessing the incident, each seeing McGlothen walking up and down the street minutes earlier saying he looked “thrown off in his head and not acting mentally right.”

The witnesses say cops got called after McGlothen got into a fight and beat up by another man living on Eileen Lane.

According to the Associated Press, the four officers charged in McGlothen’s death are Treona McCarter, Brian Ross, D’Marea Johnson and James LeClare. Prosecutors with the Caddo Parish District Attorney’s Office announced Friday that they were indicted by a grand jury following an investigation. The D.A. also said in a statement that McGlothen had mental health issues and that he “had three encounters with police within a short time span on the day he died,” AP reports. The statement said there was evidence that police used excessive force and that they failed to call for medical help.

According to The Shreveport Times, McGlothen’s family and their attorney James Carter held a press conference Friday thanking the Caddo Parish Grand Jury for indicting the four officers.

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“We are very, very grateful today to have you all come out to hear our response to the indictment that came down today,” Carter said. “We want to thank District Attorney James Stewart as well as his staff for committing to the impartial administration of justice in this matter.”

“We are very grateful and thankful to them for committing to impartial administration of justice in the indictment of the four officers involved in the untimely death of Tommie McGlothen Jr.,” he continued. “I am so thankful to the citizens of this city as well as the McGlothen family. We see this as one small, but significant step in the ongoing pursuit of justice relative to Mr. Tommie McGlothen Jr.”

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Carter said he will also put together a petition for damages against the City of Shreveport and the Shreveport Police Department on behalf of McGlothen’s family.

Zack Linly is a poet, performer, freelance writer, blogger and grown man lover of cartoons

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DISCUSSION

“I say this to your shame. Is there really no one among you wise enough to arbitrate between his brothers?” - 1 Corinthians 6:5

Not ONE cop present had the moral fortitude to say, “This is wrong. Let’s get him to the station and process him instead of killing him.”

#ACAB