ACLU calls into question every death investigated by La. State Police

Published: Jun. 17, 2021 at 6:52 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 12:39 PM CDT
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UPDATE: Click here to read about a Monroe rally where alleged victims shared their stories. The article includes a statement from LSP on the matter.

MONROE, La. (KNOE) - The American Civil Liberties Union is calling into question every death Louisiana State Police has ever investigated while demanding the U.S. Department of Justice investigate the agency. This comes after several allegations surfaced that troopers in the Monroe area severely beat Black men during multiple encounters in 2019 and 2020. Those encounters led to the death of Ronald Greene and the firing of multiple state troopers.

In a letter addressed to Attorney General Merrick Garland and the US Department of Justice, the ALCU cites multiple cases against Troop F of Monroe and alleges there is a pattern of “LSP officers targeting and using objectively unreasonable force against Black people, which the office then goes to great lengths to conceal.”

The ACLU says their Justice Lab has identified more alleged victims of LSP. They say the matter even affects local agencies across the state because LSP is frequently called to investigate deadly encounters involving law enforcement.

The trust between LSP and Louisianians has been broken,” said the letter signed by Alanah Odoms, Executive Director of the ACLU of Louisiana. “This lack of trust calls into question every death the agency has ever investigated in the state of Louisiana. LSP is authorized to investigate any police killing that takes place across the entire state and frequently handles investigations at the request of local agencies. Its reports provide the foundation for granting officers qualified immunity when families sue to vindicate the rights of their loved ones slain unlawfully by police. Data compiled by the ACLU of Louisiana shows that Black men comprise less than 20% percent of Louisiana’s population, but police kill them at nearly twice the rate of white men. In a significant number of these lethal encounters, LSP has been the investigating agency.”

In the letter, the ACLU cited data they compiled that shows police have killed 167 people in Louisiana between 2013 and 2020. The majority of those deaths, 88, are of Black people. 54 were white.

The ACLU also says it’s troubled by the news that a secret panel within the agency is investigating the matter and says justice won’t be served without federal involvement from the DOJ.

“Absent a similar investigation by the Department of Justice into LSP, and in all likelihood, a consent decree, LSP will continue to indiscriminately violate the rights of those they are sworn to serve and protect,” said Odoms. “This is not a matter of a few bad apples—this is a systemic issue that demands a systemic and transparent response.”

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