Officers arrested in Marksville shooting facing civil rights lawsuit

Officers arrested in Marksville shooting face civil rights lawsuit

MARKSVILLE, LA (WAFB) - Marksville Police officers and Ward 2 City Marshal Deputies Derrick Stafford and Norris Greenhouse are currently accused of shooting and killing a six year old boy, and critically wounding his father after a car chase. However, a civil rights lawsuit filed in July shows the officers have faced scrutiny before.

Stafford and Greenhouse are among six officers named in a lawsuit filed by Ascension parish resident Ian Fridge.  Other defendants include Marksville Police Chief Elster Smith, the City of Marksville and Avoyelles Parish District Attorney Charles Riddle.

According to the court documents, Fridge was arrested in Marksville in 2014 for carrying a non-concealed gun at an Independence Day event where alcohol was being served.  Fridge was also accused of resisting officers and assaulting Stafford in the process.

Fridge's lawsuit tells a different story.

In the suit, Fridge says he was within the state's open carry law.  As a gun rights advocate, he says he was exercising his right to bear arms while passing out information on the Libertarian party.

The suit claims, among many things, the officers wrestled Fridge to the ground, tased him several times after he was put in cuffs, and then deleted a cell phone video Fridge had taken of incident.

Meanwhile, State Police continue to dig into how and why the events last week turned fatal.

"We believe from what we saw, from the footage and our investigation, is those shots should not have been fired," said State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmundson.

It's still unclear what led to the initial car chase between four city marshal deputies, including Stafford and Greenhouse, and Chris Few. Few as driving a vehicle with his 6 year old son, Jeremy Mardis, inside.

When the chase ended, with Few and Jeremy still in the vehicle, investigators say the officers opened fire. Few was critically injured.  Jeremy, who police say was hit at least five times, died. There were early claims that Few may have been armed.

However, State Police investigators say there was no evidence Few had a gun.

One thing is clear, the investigation is far from over. Edmonson says Stafford and Greenhouse are due in court for a hearing November 9.

Jeremy Mardis will be laid to rest in Hattiesburg, MS, on the same day.

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