PORT ALLEN, La. (WAFB) - Louisiana State Police has released a statement following a fatal deputy-involved shooting at a Port Allen motel in which a man named Josef Richardson, 38, was killed by a West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy.
The release came out shortly after the family of the man, Josef Richardson, held a press conference Wednesday, July 31 at the West Baton Rouge Parish Courthouse.
LSP provided the following statement:
“The Louisiana State Police is committed to conducting a thorough, independent and impartial investigation. However, the investigative process takes time. There is no room for error when we are working to gather all of the facts. The premature release of information can in fact affect the totality of the investigation. We have full confidence in our investigative team and the integrity they bring to the investigation. We are asking for patience as we continue this process. At the conclusion of the investigation, our findings will be forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office.”
Autopsy results released by the West Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office show the man killed by a West Baton Rouge Parish deputy Thursday, July 25 died from a gunshot wound to the back of the head.
The coroner’s office says the bullet severed part of the man’s spine. The office goes on to say it has determined the death was a homicide. A homicide does not mean a violation of criminal law has occurred. The coroner’s office says that determination will be made by the district attorney’s office.
LSP has taken over the investigation.
During the family’s press conference, attorney’s representing them, including nationally known civil rights attorney, Ben Crump, said it’s time for answers.
“We know that they didn’t have any reason to do this execution,” Crump said. “I mean, you think about, when they did that autopsy, the precision of that shot to the back of the head, I mean, he never got the benefit of the doubt, he never got the benefit of consideration, he never got the benefit of possibility. They came and kicked in the door and within seconds, they executed him.”
The shooting happened around 6:45 p.m. in the 1500 block of Highway 190 W in Port Allen, at the Budget 7 Motel.
A West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy was serving a warrant at the motel and discharged his weapon, fatally wounding a man he was serving a warrant to, according to LSP.
“Answers need to be had,” said Ron Haley, an attorney representing members of Richardson’s family, on Tuesday. “You take a regular criminal case that comes forward, almost immediately you have someone that’s arrested. Almost immediately, someone is at the jail going through booking. If the district attorney or law enforcement has information to dispel to the public, they will immediately do so, but when you have situations like this, it seems the opposite when it involves law enforcement.”
"He wasn't violent, that's for damn sure,” he said. “He wasn't violent. Very respectful, whatever he chose in life, he chose no different than the rest of us."
Richardson did have a criminal background. He had multiple drug arrests and in 2005, he was convicted of resisting an officer, battery of an officer, and simple battery.
“It does not matter, that does not mean you’re sentenced to die,” Haley said. “OK, you look the code of criminal procedure where it says look, what are the penalties for this particular crime is, it’s not death.”
Haley says he and the family want transparency throughout the investigation.
“This family deserves answers now as to what happened that day, who was involved with it that day, why was he or the room being investigated that day, and what was the heightened sense of emergency that they knocked the door in with a firearm and shot when there was no weapon found," Haley said.
WAFB reached out to Richardson’s family for comment, but they did not wish to speak at this time. A reporter reached out to LSP regarding the search warrant and more information regarding the investigation; a representative says the department is still gathering evidence and conducting interviews and is not in a position to release any information on this case.
A close family friend of Richardson says he was not a violent man and his death comes as a shock.
"This one here, that's hard to accept because this could've went differently,” said Lorenzo Johnson.
Johnson says Richardson was a nice guy who was never violent.
Crump says the family needs to hear form West Baton Rouge Sheriff Mike Cazes about what happened.
"Their silence is deafening and more importantly, Attorney O’Neil, their silence is betrayal to the community,” he said.