Shreveport, LA – All four Shreveport police officers charged in the death of 44-year-old Tommie McGlothen have been acquitted by a Louisiana judge.
LaQuita McGlothen testified at the trial that she called 911 in April of 2020 to try to get her brother committed to a mental hospital, The Washington Post reported.
She testified that she told police her brother Tommie McGlothen was off his psychiatric medication and had become more paranoid and delusional.
But when police arrived, they told Tommie McGlothen’s sister and their father that they could only commit someone who was homicidal, suicidal, threatening others, or greatly disabled, The Washington Post reported.
LaQuita McGlothen said police told them to call back if he got worse, or to contact the coroner’s office for help with getting him committed in the morning.
Shortly thereafter, Shreveport Police Officer Brian Ross saw a driver removing Tommie McGlothen from the backseat of a truck parked in front of a Family Dollar store, KTAL reported.
Officer Ross intervened, and Tommie McGlothen was uncooperative when he was questioned.
But the driver didn’t want to press charges and Tommie McGlothen was ultimately released, according to KTAL.
Bodycam video showed that Officer Ross observed aloud that something was obviously wrong with the suspect.
Shreveport Police Officer Treona McCarter was also heard on the bodycam video saying that Tommie McGlothen needed an emergency commitment, KTAL reported.
Officer McCarter commented that she was sure she would be seeing him again soon, the video showed.
Two hours later, officers responded to a home on Eileen Street after Tommie McGlothen blocked a woman in her driveway and then entered her home, KTAL reported.
The woman’s husband punched the intruder in the face and then pointed a gun at him to get him to leave the house while his wife called police.
Responding officers encountered Tommie McGlothen outside the home, KTAL reported.
He resisted arrest and struggled with officers before ultimately being taken into custody.
Tommie McGlothen spit on Officer McCarter while he was being arrested, KTAL reported.
Bodycam video was played at trial that showed officers pepper-sprayed the suspect, deployed a Taser multiple times, and used their batons in order to take him into custody.
EMS responded to the scene and officers requested a spit hood.
They also asked firefighters to wipe blood off Tommie McGlothen’s skinned knee because they said he couldn’t be booked into jail if he was bleeding, KTAL reported.
Firefighters left the scene without examining the suspect or checking his vital signs.
Prosecutors said Tommie McGlothen suffered a psychotic episode after he was put into the back of the patrol vehicle, KTAL reported.
He suffered a heart attack and was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
Defense attorneys argued that the charges against the officers were based on a false narrative that had spread online and in the media.
“This whole premise that he was left unattended for 45 minutes, which was the narrative not only throughout the state’s prosecution but through the media and social media. That was a false notion,” defense attorney Dhu Thompson said.
“That did not occur, and that’s the shame of it,” Thompson continued. “These officers were drug through the mud for almost two years with that false premise and the evidence showed that that just was not the case.”
The defense team moved for acquittal as soon as the state rested its case on June 16, KTAL reported.
On June 17, Caddo District Court Judge Chris Victory acquitted all four officers of negligent homicide and malfeasance in office, The Washington Post reported.
“This case was a tragedy, and everybody feels sorry for what happened to Mr. McGlothen and extends sympathies to his family,” Thompson said after the officers were exonerated. “However, the greater tragedy would have been if these officers would have been convicted based on a premise that was just totally false. They did what they were trained to do. They did not cause his death.”
“The use of force evidence always looks bad but once the evidence comes out and it shows that these are the trained tactics that they have to use at times to apprehend dangerous suspects, then I think the public would have a better understanding of why these incidents occur and to know that these are not criminal acts, so we are very happy that the court found the verdict that it did,” the defense attorney said.
All four officers are now eligible for full reinstatement on the police force, KTAL reported.