Two Louisiana sheriffs were arrested for manslaughter and fired after police officials said they fatally shot an unarmed man inside a parked vehicle last week.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joseph P. Lopinto III said officers’ use of force was “unjustifiable” after they shot the man, Daniel Vallee, during a skirmish with police on early Wednesday in Marrero, La, just south of New Orleans.
The shooting happened around 2 a.m., when police, responding to a complaint about noise in the area, found Mr Vallee inside a vehicle parked in front of “a home with a known crack “, said the police chief. said at a press conference Monday night.
According to Sheriff Lopinto, during the standoff, which lasted about 12 minutes, Mr. Vallee locked the door and started the car.
“Of course, that escalated the situation,” he said. “Many of my lieutenants drew their weapons at that point, expecting him to try to take off.”
During the encounter, Vallee raised his hands, but at one point dropped them, hitting the horn, said Sheriff Lopinto.
“My opinion, that horn, whether it scares my deputy or my deputy reacts to my firing whistle, will eventually fire his weapon. ,” said the sheriff. “The second lieutenant fired his weapon in response to that gunshot.”
Sheriff Lopinto said both officers were fired several times. The other three officers present at the scene did not fire their weapons.
Sheriff identify dismissed officers are Isaac Hughes, 29, and Johnathan Louis, 35. Mr. Hughes has been with the department since 2013 and Mr. Louis since 2020. Each faces one count of manslaughter.
“Unfortunately, the use of force in this situation is not justified,” said Sheriff Lopinto, adding that he believes the shooting “certainly was not intentional.”
Police Chief Lopinto said: Officers, who have cooperated with an investigation and unreleased deadlock video, “support” what officers told investigators. investigation of the shooting.
Sheriff Lopinto said the shooting was the first to be captured with police body cameras since the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office began using them last year. The office adopted the technology after a video showed one of its deputies assaulting a woman attract national news attention.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana has filed a number of lawsuits over the past two years against the sheriff’s office stemming from what the ACLU says are incidents of violent beating and racist.
Last week, Glenn McGovern, a civil rights attorney hired by the Vallee family, told a New Orleans news stationWWL-TV argued that Mr Vallee’s constitutional rights had been violated and questioned why police did not use other tactics to get him out of the car.
Mr. McGovern did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
In an interview last week with NOLA.comMr. Vallee’s relatives said he had long struggled with drug addiction but he was not violent.
“He was a wrestling addict. That doesn’t mean he should have been shot dead the way he was,” his aunt, Tara Phillips, told the news agency.
Derrick Bryson Taylor contribution report.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/22/us/jefferson-parish-shooting-daniel-vallee.html 2 Louisiana delegates arrested and evicted after fatal shooting