THE INVESTIGATORS: Jackson officer on leave, accused of choking teen at gas station

Updated: Mar. 25, 2021 at 3:31 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - An officer with the Jackson Marshal’s Office is on leave after being accused of choking a teenager and using a racial slur about three weeks ago at a gas station.

Bobby King, Sr. is outraged after he says his 16-year-old son was attacked by an officer at the Main Street Market. “It’s not right and I’m not going to stop fighting it either,” said King.

It all happened around 1:00 a.m. on Sunday, February 28, 2021 when King’s son Braylin pulled into the gas station. He says one officer, Clay Depew, immediately got aggressive-- cursing at the teen and telling him to leave.

The 9News Investigators obtained surveillance video from outside the store the night of the incident. The video appears to show the officer out near several cars responding to some kind of unrelated situation. King says his son’s truck was parked right behind another truck and out of view of the store’s cameras but at one point King claims officer Depew called his son the N-word and choked him.

”It really hurt me and it still hurts me. For me to know that that happened to him at his age, he’ll probably never get over that,” said King.

King told WAFB’s Scottie Hunter the situation was so bad that another officer had to step in, pulling officer Depew off his son. He now wonders how far things would have gone if the other officer wasn’t there.

”I hear it all the time and I see it on the news but I never thought it would happen to my kid... especially that age,” said King.

”He was assaulted, berated and abused by this officer,” said King’s attorney Ron Haley.

The Jackson Marshal’s Office is looking into what happened but King’s attorney questions how far that investigation will go.

WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked Haley how confident he is in the investigation.

“We only can hope so,” said Haley. “I’m not going to hold my breath because I’ve seen this happen before. I’ve seen cases in the state with our lead agency, the Louisiana State Police take 19, 20 months or two years to investigate wrongdoing of their officers.”

The 9News Investigators tried to get the Jackson Marshal’s Office’s side of the story. WAFB requested the body and dash cam footage of the encounter but a representative with the office says the agency does not have dash cams and no body camera footage was recorded. When asked to clarify what happened to that video or whether the officer had a camera and it was just turned off, a representative said that is part of the investigation.

When pressed further about whether any of their officers are equipped with body cameras in general, the representative said they could not answer that questions and that it was also part of the investigation.

”We have seen this movie play out,” said Haley. “What is the point of having body cams if they’re not going to be turned on?”

”I don’t trust them, period,” said King. “I do not trust them. They got the camera. Why was it not on?”

The attorney and the teen’s family say the public deserves to know why there’s no video of what happened and the officer needs to be held accountable.

“If my client’s allegations are true, then a crime was committed against a kid and we wants more than just him being fired. We want him arrested as well,” said Haley.

”If the tables were turned and he put his hands on a police officer, he would have gone to jail so I would love for him to go to jail and I’m not going to give up on it,” King added.

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