EAST FELICIANA PARISH, LA (WAFB) - The family of Myron Flowers is horrified after finding out their loved one was shot multiple times at the hands of two law enforcement officers Friday, April 12 in East Feliciana Parish.
"I'm still struggling with the fact that it was multiple shots and I don't feel that it was necessary," said Bettina Spears, Flowers’ sister-in-law.
Preliminary findings from the coroner’s report reveal only the cause of death and do not show how many times the 28 year old father was shot. It’s one of the burning questions that remains, along with the shock of something like this happening in their community. Flowers’ cousin, Kenuatra Smith, wants to be clear that by speaking up, she is not against law enforcement officers, but she simply wants to find out exactly what happened.
“We don’t want to see any division in this community. I’ve been living here for 41 years and I have never in all of my life witnessed anything of this magnitude... not here,” said Smith. “We know it happens, but not here."
According to law enforcement, a witness told them Flowers got into a gun battle after a brief struggle with police during a traffic stop. Officials told the media in a news conference Monday, April 15 that both East Feliciana Deputy Cullen Wilson and Clinton Police Department Officer Richard Boudoin fired shots. An initial review of forensic evidence though has not yet determined whether Flowers shot at the officers. Body cameras, something that could provide more answers in the case though, aren’t being used at EFPSO.
"Video footage would provide evidence of what actually took place," said Spears.
There is actually not body camera or dash cam footage of the incident. The only shred of video is surveillance from a business near the scene, but EFPSO officials have already said that footage is not of the best quality.
"So far as we know, unless somebody comes up with a cell phone video or something, that’s the only video,” said Chief Deputy Greg Phares.
That’s what concerns Flowers’ family the most; they worry investigators will not have enough to paint a total picture of what happened and say body cams could show much more.
"Because there isn't a lot,” said Smith. “The only thing they have is a video surveillance from the health center. There isn't anything else."
Leaders at EFPSO says body and dash cams would be ideal, but they simply don’t have it in their budget. In a statement, a spokesman tells WAFB that could change in the future. That statement reads, “We do not have body cameras or dash cameras as an agency. We have discussed it and if it becomes financially feasible we will reconsider.”
“I think they should,” Spears added. “I think it’s necessary.”
As part of this report, WAFB reached out to other area law enforcement agencies to find out if body cameras are among their tools. Most of the sheriff’s offices in the Baton Rouge area do not have them, including in East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, West Feliciana, Ascension, Livingston, and Iberville parishes. Many city police departments within those parishes, like Baton Rouge, are equipped with cameras.