NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Family members of a Black man who died after an altercation with police filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against a northwest Louisiana city, its police chief and four of its officers.
The four Shreveport officers named in the civil lawsuit were charged by a grand jury in Caddo Parish in September with negligent homicide and malfeasance following an investigation into the death of Tommie McGlothen Jr.
The new civil rights lawsuit says McGlothen’s death was caused by the officers who punched him, kicked him, beat him with a baton and used a stun device and pepper spray on him. It was filed by lawyers for McGlothen’s daughter and two sons, and on behalf of his widow, who died this year.
The suit also says McGlothen spent 48 minutes in a police patrol unit, unattended and handcuffed, with dash-camera video showing he was in respiratory distress before officers summoned medical help.
It claims the city’s screening, training and supervision of police is inadequate and that there is an ineffective system of review of police misconduct. It seeks unspecified punitive and compensatory damages plus coverage of McGlothen’s funeral and burial costs.
McGlothen had three encounters with police within a short time span on the day he died. The lawsuit faults police for failing to take into account that he was showing clear signs of a mental condition — excited delirium syndrome — with symptoms that included hallucinations and violent behavior.
Part of one encounter was video-recorded from a distance by a witness with a phone. KSLA TV reported when it aired the recording in June that officers can be seen wrestling with a man on the ground, one of them punching him repeatedly and another appearing to strike him with a baton.
A spokesman for the police department declined comment Tuesday on the lawsuit.
Officers Treona McCarter, Brian Ross, D’Marea Johnson and James LeClare have pleaded not guilty in the criminal case. KTBS-TV reports that they have a March 29 court date.
After the four officers were charged in September, the Caddo Parish District’s Attorney’s Office issued a news release saying the case was reviewed by a “nationally recognized” forensic pathologist and experts on police use of force. The release said the investigation confirmed that excessive force was used on McGlothen.