Four Shreveport, Louisiana police officers involved in the arrest of a black man who died in police custody were suspended yesterday.
Newly-released footage taken at the arrest in Shreveport on April 5 2020 shows black man Tommie McGlothen being beaten by police officers.
KSLA released cellphone footage of the incident yesterday, which appears to show police officers punching, kicking, and “wrestling McGlothen under a carport on Eileen Lane.”
Tommie McGlothen Jr. a 44-year-old black man died in Shreveport Police custody back in April. Police didn’t publicly report McGlothen’s death & no officers were placed on leave until my investigation aired today. @KSLA https://t.co/aNuLJ4Ge2O
— Stacey Cameron (@StaceyTVJourno) June 9, 2020
The 44-year-old later died in the custody of Shreveport Police, the Caddo Parish District Attorney said.
The Shreveport Police Department issued a statement yesterday, on June 8, saying all four officers involved in the matter have been placed on administrative leave pending the conclusion of an investigation.
Shreveport Police Chief Ben Raymond said yesterday:
This matter is of great concern to me. The Shreveport Police Department has conducted a thorough investigation, which has been sent to the District Attorney’s office. To ensure even greater transparency, Louisiana State Police is reviewing the case.
We are also asking that anyone with additional information please contact the Shreveport Police Department. All four officers involved in this matter have been placed on departmental leave pending the conclusion of an investigation.
If the officers violated any of our policies, they will be disciplined accordingly.
Police were called to the incident on April 5 after McGlothen got in a fight with a man on Eileen Lane.
In the encounter, which lasts for nearly five minutes, McGlothen is beaten by a “white male officer as a black female cop tries holding him down.”
As the footage continues, the male cop appears to punch McGlothen four times. He is then heard to scream as police taze him behind a parked car, according to witnesses.
A fourth officer is then seen in the video punching McGlothen. Another cop then tazes him three more times, before McGlothen is hit with a baton three times in the legs.
The video then shows McGlothen struggling to his feet before officers shove him to the ground. Officers then walk him to a police car before his head slams on the hood of the vehicle.
The next seconds of the video then appear to show McGlothen turning to spit in the face of the female police officer before she punches him and he falls to the street, apparently hitting his head.
Witnesses say McGlothen was then placed in a squad car, where they reported he looked “slumped over and unconscious.”
One witness said he watched paramedics who arrived on the scene give McGothen CPR, but four eyewitnesses said as the ambulance drove off slowly, without sirens, they feared McGlothen had already died.
The Shreveport Police Department didn’t report McGlothen’s death publicly, with 54 days passing before the DA’s office received an investigative file from police with DA James Stewart saying that file was ‘missing reports, statements, downloads and other vital information essential to conduct a thorough and complete review.’
Shreveport Police Chief Ben Raymond “says there are no missing reports, and it’s normal for the DA office to ask for additional assistance from SPD investigators.”
Raymond attended George Floyd protests last week in Shreveport.
He said at the time:
I stand in solidarity for open communication and to root out any police officers that are not upholding the oath of office that are not treating people properly, lawfully, loyally, ethically and that is what I am out here for.
However, protesters at a community justice rally in Shreveport last week were calling for both Raymond and police sgt. Brent Mason to resign.
Another man, Wavey Austin, died in Shreveport Police Custody earlier this year.
McGlothen’s Family has Spoken Out After His Death
McGlothen’s family believe there has been a cover-up surrounding his death.
The New York Daily News reported that McGothen’s son, Tommie McGlothen III, said the recently-released video footage of his father’s encounter with police didn’t add up to police reports which said McGlothen died of a heart attack.
He said when family viewed the body, they saw “his nose and jaw were broken and the right side of his face was swollen.”
McGlothen III told the Daily News he “just wanted to know what happened.”
STORY: Day 6 of protests in Shreveport and groups marched for #JusticeForTommie. Tommie McGlothen Jr. died in police custody last month. His son spoke about his father while marching with the hundreds who came out to support. pic.twitter.com/AG4X99rNbj
— Jade Jackson (@IAMJADEJACKSON) June 6, 2020
The family, who have since hired an atttorney, told KSLA they have still not received an autopsy report, and suspect a cover-up by police. Activist organizations including 45 Days of Action Shreveport are “calling for accountability, asking for witnesses to step up and speak up.”
An Online Petition is Calling on Mayor Adrian Perkins to Take Action
has been created calling on Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins to release the names of the SPD officers and their badge numbers:
We the citizens of Shreveport, Louisiana are demanding that all officers involved names and badge numbers be released to the public, that all officers involved are placed on NON-PAID administrative leave.
Getting these names and badge numbers will not fix our broken system. In the time it takes to write this more videos of police brutality will be flooding social media from cities and departments across the country. If we can get the names and badge numbers for these officers out to the public we can demand every single officer involved be fired, arrested, and charged.
We cannot rely on internal investigations to do what is right. We DEMAND immediate reform to the system across the board. I kindly ask you to sign this petition and demand answers, Officers involved be placed on Non-Paid Administrative leave, and charges brought against these cops from the city of Shreveport.
The officers involved were placed on administrative leave shortly after the petition was released.