Grand jury decision in fatal officer-involved shooting of Chris Whitfield delayed

Case against deputy accused of shooting, killing man in E Feliciana Parish delayed

EAST FELICIANA PARISH, La. (WAFB) - District Sam D’Aquilla says the grand jury decision of whether to bring a bringing a second-degree murder charge against the deputy accused of killing Christopher Whitfield, 31, has been delayed.

D’Aquilla told WAFB’s Scottie Hunter the grand jury proceedings scheduled for Feb. 11 have been continued in the case against Glenn Sims, Sr. because some members of the grand jury are related to both Sims and Whitfield.

A new date for the grand jury decision has not been set yet.

Whitfield was killed by Glenn Sims Sr. at a gas station in Ethel on Oct. 14.

East Feliciana Parish Sheriff Jeff Travis claimed Whitfield was attempting to steal from the gas station. An employee said Whitfield was trying to take raw chicken and a carton of eggs from a refrigerated unit behind the building.

Sims allegedly fired at Whitfield accidentally as the two struggled after a brief foot pursuit, killing Whitfield.

The East Feliciana Parish Sheriff’s Office was able to lead the investigation into the shooting because there is no legal requirement that the investigation be turned over to a third-party agency. In similar situations, however, law enforcement agencies allow Louisiana State Police to lead the investigation.

READ MORE: Attorney says it’s legal for E Feliciana Parish Sheriff’s Office to investigate its own, but community could perceive conflict

During a press conference, Travis said he’d learned Sims had a criminal record, with charges including illegal discharge of a weapon, simple battery, and resisting an officer.

After the discovery, Travis said the sheriff’s office would "take appropriate action.“

Whitfield’s family members believed the appropriate action would be to fire and arrest Sims.

The family said Whitfield struggled with his mental health and despite previous run-ins with the law, didn’t carry guns and did not pose a threat to law enforcement. The family claims at the time of his death, Whitfield was unarmed and shot in the back.

The family has not filed a civil lawsuit against the sheriff’s office or the deputy-involved the shooting.

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