SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Four officers involved in the arrest of a man who died while in police custody in April have been placed on leave pending an investigation after alleged video of the encounter surfaced Monday.
The video, purported to show 44-year-old Tommie McGlothen struggling in a violent encounter with Shreveport police officers attempting to arrest him on April 5, aired on a local television station early Monday afternoon.
Police Chief Ben Raymond told KTAL the police department was made aware of the new video evidence on Monday morning but said they did not have a copy of it. District Attorney James Stewart also said they had heard about a “citizen video” concerning the incident, but that the DA’s office had not been provided a copy, and Stewart said he had not seen it.
“Whether or not it’s new evidence or something we already know I have no idea. Obviously I think that in the greater public interest, they should at the least provided us a copy of it.”
The district attorney declined to comment later Monday afternoon once the video aired on whether it was among evidence investigators had already gathered.
Chief Raymond released the following statement in response to the video less than an hour after it aired:
“This matter is of great concern to me,” Shreveport Police Chief Ben Raymond said in a statement Monday afternoon. “The Shreveport Police Department has conducted a thorough investigation, which has been sent to the District Attorney’s office. To ensure even greater transparency, Louisiana State Police is reviewing the case. We are also asking that anyone with additional information please contact the Shreveport Police Department.”
All four officers involved in this matter have been placed on departmental leave pending the conclusion of an investigation. If the officers violated any of our policies, they will be disciplined accordingly.”
Raymond said the decision to place the officers on leave was made early Monday afternoon, “because their continued service during the investigation was beginning to have an effect on the efficient operation of the police department.”
The officers’ names have not been released.
The potentially new video evidence comes a week after the DA’s office put out a call for the public to come forward with any information or evidence in connection with the McGlothen case, saying “there is a probability that citizens have video, eyewitness accounts and other information” related to the case, as well as to the investigation involving Wavey Austin, who died while in Shreveport police custody on April 19.
The DA also noted last week that there were “missing reports, statements, downloads and other vital information that is essential to conduct a thorough and complete review” of the case, and that SPD was “being notified as to what is missing and is being requested to provide this to our office expeditiously.”
Chief Raymond denied that there were any missing reports, statements or other information investigators had and did not provided, but acknowledged a request from the DA’s office for additional information.
Raymond also confirmed on Tuesday of last week that the officers involved in the McGlothen and Austin cases were not on leave.
Family members and community activists have been demanding answers and accountability from the city and from the police department in the deaths of the two men.
SPD and the DA’s office have otherwise declined to comment on either case due to the ongoing investigation.