THE INVESTIGATORS: Congressman Carter calls for investigation into LSP as the head of the agency announces reform
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Not long after the head of Louisiana State Police announced sweeping changes within the state’s top law enforcement agency, Congressman Troy Carter is calling on the Department of Justice to look into the agency.
With videos out there showing LSP troopers brutally beating men in their custody, including Ronald Greene and Aaron Bowman, LSP Colonel Lamar Davis says they are focused on improvement.
”We’ve had some employees that have violated the trust of our citizens and the trust of their fellow coworkers,” said Col. Davis.
The colonel said Friday he does not support use of excessive force and will do everything in his power to hold those accountable who take part in misconduct.
”Although this has not always happened in the past, I can assure you that I will continue to hold those that violate our rules, that violate the laws and the constitution accountable for their actions and for their behavior,” said Col Davis.
Since taking over as head of the agency, Davis says they have started the process of sweeping reform, including a ban on chokeholds and the use of certain weapons on a person’s head or neck.
They have also created a duty to intervene policy that makes it mandatory for troopers to step in if a fellow officer takes things too far. Perhaps one of the biggest changes the Colonel wants is to establish a standard when it comes to releasing critical information like body camera footage.
”I would love nothing more than to release the evidence as soon as we can,” said Davis. “I think it gives our citizens a sense of relief. It reassures them that we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing and it helps communicate the facts of the case.”
”Clearly there appears to be a pattern that has to be busted, a culture that unfortunately seems to have gone way too far,” said Congressman Troy Carter.
Congressman Troy Carter joins the growing list of those who’ve called on the Department of Justice to step in to investigate misconduct within LSP.
A letter he sent to the U.S. Attorney General comes just one day after the Associated Press reported more than a dozen instances where state troopers or leadership have ignored beatings, deflected accountability or railroaded efforts to stop misconduct.
The colonel said one trooper, Lt. John Clary, will not face discipline after an Internal Affairs investigation cleared him of accusations that he lied about having body camera footage from the night Ronald Greene died.
Footage from his camera that came to light back in April shows otherwise. Despite that, the Colonel says unless anything else comes out, Clary will not be punished.
”Due to the evidence that was provided or the lack thereof of evidence that was provided, we could not say for sure whether or not Lt. Clary purposefully withheld evidence,” said Col. Davis.
”If you’ve tampered with a device that was supposed to be monitoring your activity, you have to ask the question, why. What were you hiding? And because of a technicality, there was nothing you could demonstrate to show malice or to show ill intent? Of course you can if the camera’s been modified,” Carter added.
Congressman Carter says it’s clear LSP will not change unless outside pressure forces it to happen.
”It’s lime that we just stop the shenanigans,” said Carter. “I don’t know that the fox can guard the hen house and that’s why I’m asking the federal government to come in with a full throated, full throttle investigation to get to the bottom of this.”
The feds have already launched a civil rights investigation into state police focusing on several instances of excessive force involving Troop F and black drivers.
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