SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — Four police officers in northwest Louisiana have been charged with negligent homicide and malfeasance in connection with the death last April of a 44-year-old Black man following a video-recorded altercation, a prosecutor’s office announced Friday.
The four Shreveport police officers were indicted by a grand jury looking into the death of Tommie McGlothen, the Caddo Parish District Attorney’s Office said in a news release. Shreveport is the seat of Caddo Parish.
The statement said that McGlothen, who had mental health issues, had three encounters with police within a short time span on the day he died. The statement said there was evidence of excessive force used on McGlothen, and that officers failed to summon medical help for him.
The officers were identified as Treona McCarter, Brian Ross, D’Marea Johnson and James LeClare. The police department declined comment, according to The Shreveport Times.
KSLA-TV said the officers turned themselves in Friday. The Caddo Sheriff’s Office told The Associated Press the officers were released on $20,000 bond each.
At a brief news conference with McGlothen’s family members, attorney James Carter said they believed the grand jury made “the appropriate decision” in charging the four with negligent homicide and malfeasance.
“I just want to say thank you,” McGlothen’s father said.
One violent encounter with police was recorded on the cellphone of a bystander who witnessed it from a distance, KSLA TV reported when it aired the recording in June. Officers can be seen wrestling with a man on the ground, one of them punching him repeatedly and another appearing to strike him with a baton.
Caddo Parish Coroner Todd Thoma initially said the death was the result of an underlying heart condition and “excited delirium,” but also said the death was “possibly preventable.”
Thoma has said McGlothen was left on the back seat of a police car for 48 minutes after his April 5 struggle with officers before it was discovered that he wasn’t breathing. He was declared dead at the hospital the next day, the coroner said.
The Caddo District Attorney’s release said a “nationally recognized” forensic pathologist and experts on police use of force reviewed the case.
The release said the investigation confirmed the “excited delirium” determination, and that excessive force was used on McGlothen by the Shreveport Police Department officers.
The district attorney’s statement said officers used unnecessary physical force and violated department policy regarding use of Tasers. It also said they failed to take McGlothen to the hospital or call paramedics.
Friday’s announcement of charges marks the second time in recent months that a group of Shreveport officers has faced indictment over use of force. In June, eight officers were charged with malfeasance for the use of force against two men following a traffic chase.
McGlothen’s death in police custody, the police custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and other incidents sparked protests in Shreveport during the summer.