SHREVEPORT, LA- Four Shreveport officers who were charged in the death of a Louisiana man in April 2020 have been acquitted of all charges by a Louisiana judge, who ruled prosecutors failed to prove their case against the four officers.
Caddo District Court Judge Chris Victory ruled last Friday the four officers—Offs. Brian Ross, James LeClare, Treona McCarter and D’Marea Johnson—were not culpable in the death of Tommie McGlothen, U.S. News & World Report said. Three of the four officers, as well as McGlothen are black.
Each of the four officers had been charged with negligent homicide in McGlothen’s death, as well as malfeasance in office in their positions as Shreveport police officers.
Each of the four officers waived their right to a jury trial, opting instead to receive a bench trial. After prosecutors presented the case, defense attorneys asked Victory to rule without hearing defense testimony. After deliberating over the course of one night, he did so.
According to KSLA-12, prosecutors on June 16 rested their case after calling on 28 witnesses to testify in the case, in addition to introducing video evidence consisting of several videos which captured the struggle between the four officers and McGlothen.
On Friday June 17, Victory ruled the prosecution had not presented sufficient evidence to grant a conviction and granted the defense motion to acquit.
In light of their acquittal, the four officers will be allowed back to work as patrol officers for the Shreveport PD. According to Chief Wayne Smith, he couldn’t say when—or if—the officers will be back on the job should they decide to return to their careers as police officers.
Their attorneys called the case a tragedy for the officers, as well as for the McGlothen family.
During the trial, prosecutors tried to establish that it was the four officers who caused McGlothen’s death.
KSLA said three medical authorities—including the ER physician who treated McGlothen on the night of his death, the pathologist who conducted his autopsy, nor Caddo Coroner Todd Thoma—could not testify with any medical certainty what his cause of death was. In other words, they could not testify with specificity that blows from the officers, pepper spray or tazing had led to his death. His death was never classified a homicide.
In fact, it was revealed during the trial that the District Attorney’s office had to twice take the case before a grand jury before it was able to obtain indictments against the four officers. Both the Louisiana State Police and the U.S. Department of Justice declined to refer the case for criminal prosecution.
KTAL/KMSS said that McGlothen died in the back seat of a Shreveport police cruiser following a struggle with the four officers. During the trial, the state never called the lead detective in the case and in an unusual twist the state hired an outside expert to contradict their own coroner.
Dr. Thoma ruled the cause of death as excited delirium sometimes referred to as positional asphyxia. It’s pretty much what George Floyd died of along with having overdosed on meth and fentanyl.
For their part, McGlothen’s family is pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit against the city in federal court.
“Our faith in the judicial system has been renewed,” Michael Carter, president of the Shreveport Police Officers Association said after the trial, according to KTBS-TV.
“We have watched the testimony each day from prosecution’s witnesses, including expert witnesses, which has confirmed the complete lack of factual evidence against our members,” Carter said.
Meanwhile, McGlothen’s sister was not happy with the verdict. She had contacted police the day her brother died in an attempt to get him committed due to mental health issues. She told reporters she was heartbroken over the verdict.
“Not only have I lost my brother, but I’ve lost my sense of community. Those that are placed in a position to serve and protect, I no longer have trust in them at all,” said LaQuita McGlothen.
On the day of his death, police had several interactions with McGlothen. On the final attempt, McGlothen fought with officers who tried to handcuff him. After video surfaced a few months later showing police using a taser, chemical spray and a baton to restrain him, they were put on leave.
After his interaction with the police, he was found unresponsive an hour later and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
The family’s lawsuit contends McGlothen was left alone between the time of his arrest and the time he died, a contention which police deny.
“The whole premise that he was left unattended for 45 minutes, which was the narrative not only throughout the state’s prosecution but through the media and social media. That was a false notion. That did not occur, and that’s the shame of it,” said LeClare’s attorney, Dhu Thompson.
“These officers were drug through the mud for almost two years with that false premise and the evidence showed that just was not the case,” he said Friday.
For our report on a Virginia officer also acquitted in connection with a death, we invite you to:
BRISTOL, VA — Johnathan Brown, a Bristol Police Officer, was found not guilty in the murder of a man who drove his vehicle toward him in 2021.
A jury has acquitted a Virginia police officer who was charged with murder for fatally shooting a driver who police said refused to exit his vehicle and drove toward the officer.https://t.co/IkaxrJqdOz
— The Virginian-Pilot (@virginianpilot) April 29, 2022
According to the Virginia State Police, on March 30, 2021, 31-year-old Jonathen Kohler, of Bristol, Tennessee, drove toward Officer Brown and was shot while trying to flee a parking lot.
Five officers were on break at a gas station when dispatch received four separate 9-1-1 calls saying shots had been fired.
Officer Jonathan Brown was released on a $25,000 bond after he turned himself in to the Virginia State Police. https://t.co/sxxnr38lQo
— WDBJ7 (@WDBJ7) May 10, 2021
A news release from the Virginia State Police from 2021 said:
“As officers were verbally engaged with Kohler, he backed up and then drove forward in an attempt to exit the parking lot, at which point one of the officers fired at Kohler’s vehicle.”
JUST IN: Bristol, Virginia police officer Jonathan Brown is found not guilty of murder.https://t.co/w7bqdX1nQd
— Olivia Bailey (@OliviaBaileyTV) April 27, 2022
The Virginia State Police also noted that Kohler disregarded the police commands to get out of his vehicle “despite repeated commands by the officers.”
“He then put the Mustang into drive and sped towards one of the officers. The officer fired at the suspect vehicle as it came at him.”
As a result, Kohler was pronounced dead at the scene.
During the investigation, Officer Brown was on paid administrative leave.
His status was updated after the charges were made known to “suspended without pay”.
The Virginia State Police investigated the incident and gave their information to the commonwealth’s attorney for the City of Roanoke, Don Caldwell.
Was a wild day in court.
A Bristol, Virginia policeman’s testimony revealed that on the morning Jonathan Kohler was fatally shot in March of 2021, five officers responded to the scene at the Roadway Inn, but only four made contact with Kohler.https://t.co/SO1B53NiIs
— Bianca Marais WJHL (@BiancaWJHL) April 25, 2022
The grand jury returned with their verdict on charges of murder, use of a firearm in the commission of murder, and malicious shooting into an occupied vehicle against Officer Brown.
Officer Brown’s defense team contended that the indictment was hasty and stated that Officer Brown was a hero.
At the trial, an officer who was also present during the incident testified that if Officer Brown had not shot Kohler, then he would have.
Court documents from 2021 stated Officer Brown was indicted on charges of murder, use of a firearm in the commission of murder, and malicious shooting into an occupied vehicle.
Brown’s bond was set at $25,000.
Officer Brown did not testify at the trial.
Wednesday, the trial concluded with a jury deliberation of fewer than two hours.
Officer Brown was found not guilty.
Heather Howard, Officer Brown’s attorney, said after the trial that,
“The truth will stand when everything else falls.”
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — San Francisco Police Officer Terrance Stangel was found not guilty of excessive force by a jury after a month-long trial.
Stangel was accused of using excessive force against a male suspect during an incident near Fisherman’s Wharf three years ago.
Jury finds SFPD Officer Terrance Stangel NOT GUILTY of 3 counts of assault and battery in landmark police case, hung on fourth count. https://t.co/nLWXWtQv9g
— Megan Cassidy (@meganrcassidy) March 7, 2022
Stangel had been charged with battery with serious bodily injury, assault with a deadly weapon, assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury, and assault under the color of authority in connection with the domestic violence arrest of Dacari Spiers, 32, in 2019, KTVU reported.
The case had racial undertones because Spiers is black and Stangel is white.
On Monday, the jury found Stangel not guilty on three counts of brutality, and a mistrial was declared on the fourth count, which the jury deadlocked on KTVU reported.
After the verdicts were read, Stangle’s defense attorney, Nicole Pifari, criticized San Francisco District Attorney (DA) Chesa Boudin. Outside the courtroom, she said:
“For the DA to turn around and focus all these types of resources on prosecuting a peace officer who was out there trying to help the public is a travesty, and it’s dangerous for public safety in San Francisco.”
BREAKING: In a historic trial, the jury acquitted SF Police Officer Terrance Stangel for three counts charged against him for when he used a metal baton against Dacari Spiers in Oct. 2019. The fourth was a hung jury and a mistrial. Via @miss_elenius https://t.co/tn66kYZS88
— Mission Local (@MLNow) March 7, 2022
During her closing argument, Pifari called the trial a “political prosecution” and accused the team of assistant district attorneys of being “liars.”
KTVU reported Pifari told the jury the DA’s case was “terrible”:
“Their case is terrible. They had to create an alternate reality to bring this case….They lied to you.”
“They’re putting him [Stangel] through a criminal trial for being a human being and facing a dangerous and violent situation on behalf of his community.”
Story on @KRON4News at 9
— Jonathan McCall (@JonathanMcCall) March 8, 2022
The prosecution and defense will return to court on Tuesday to resolve the count of assault under color of authority. Prosecutors can refile the charges or drop them, according to KTVU’s report.
District Attorney spokeswoman Rachel Marshall thanked the jury for their service and defended the office’s decision to charge the case.
CHICAGO – Three Chicago police officers who were charged with trying to cover up the 2014 shooting death of black teenager Laquan McDonald to protect a fellow officer were acquitted Thursday.
Former Detective David March, former Officer Joseph Walsh, and Officer Thomas Gaffney did not conspire to cover up the black teenager’s death, Cook County Judge Domenica Stephenson found, FOX News reported.
The officers had been charged with conspiracy, official misconduct and obstruction of justice related to McDonald’s death. Yet the judge said there was no evidence that demonstrated they tried to conceal evidence related to McDonald’s death. Moreover, she even said, “The evidence shows just the opposite.”
Stephenson said that the officers preserved the police dashcam video at the heart of the evidence that convicted Officer Jason Van Dyke.
Van Dyke was convicted of second-degree murder and aggravated battery in October after he shot McDonald in 2014.
Prosecutors argued that March, Gaffney and Walsh, who was Van Dyke’s partner, submitted false reports. Their argument insinuated the officers tried to prevent a criminal investigation into the shooting.
They also alleged that the officers falsely claimed that McDonald ignored verbal commands from Van Dyke, that Van Dyke shot McDonald after McDonald aggressively swung a knife at the officers and that he kept shooting the teen because McDonald was trying to get up still armed with the knife.
Evidence actually showed that McDonald possessed a small knife that he used to puncture a tire on Gaffney’s police vehicle. However, the dashcam shows that he didn’t swing it at the officers before Van Dyke opened fire.
“The case is clear, the case is straightforward, and it is concise,” Special Prosecutor Patricia Brown Holmes told the judge during her opening statements. “It boils down to what the defendants wrote on paper versus what is shown on video.”
Ultimately, the judge saw it differently.
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