SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The family of a Shreveport man who died while in police custody in April 2020 has filed suit against the city’s police chief and four of the officers involved in his death.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday morning in federal court on behalf of the family of Tommie McGlothen, Jr., names Shreveport Chief of Police Ben Raymond and officers Treona McCarter, Brian Ross, D’Marea Johnson, and James LeClare as defendants.
“It’s just been really hard for all of us, my dad played roles in our lives and was there for anything we needed, with him not being there with us it’s tough, life is not the same,” Tommie McGlothen III said in a news conference Tuesday.
“My dad meant a lot to us and to know he passed very soon before he was supposed to it hurts, every day we think about him, every day we see something that reminds us of him and it’s not right, it’s not fair for someone to be taken from us,” said McGlothen’s daughter, Tamara Jones.
McGlothen died on April 5, 2020, after he was beaten and tased by officers with the Shreveport Police Department. The 44-year-old had a known mental condition and died at an area hospital a short time after his detention and arrest by the officers.
The suit filed Tuesday claims officers placed McGlothen in the back of a patrol unit after the beating, where he remained significantly unattended for 48 minutes. It also asserts that dashcam video shows him in respiratory distress for the entire 48 minutes, gasping for air and eventually losing consciousness before he went into cardiac arrest and died.
Caddo Parish Coroner Dr. Todd Thoma later determined that McGlothen died of natural causes, but that his death was preventable in that the responding officers should have known he needed medical treatment.
In September, four of the officers involved in McGlothen’s death were indicted and charged with negligent homicide and malfeasance.
The family is seeking damages for the loss of McGlothen’s life as well as punitive damages against the city in a complaint that cites more than three dozen causes of action, from excessive force and violation of civil rights and due process, negligent training and supervision on the part of the city, failure to intervene and negligence on the part of the officers, wrongful death, and violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“Defendants have exhibited a pattern and practice of ignoring and violating the rights of the citizens of Louisiana, including Mr. McGlothen, which proximately caused his death and, furthermore, negligently supervised and trained their employees despite their knowledge of the need to do so,” the suit alleges.