Louisiana police officer who shot and killed a 6-year-old autistic boy is facing justice haven been found guilty of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter of the boy’s father who survived the high-speed car chase turned into a deadly shooting spree.
Christopher Few- the father of the slain boy Jeremy Mardis, says that he was fleeing police to get his son to safety in the event he would be arrested, and the disgraced Marksville deputy Derrick Stafford says he would have never opened fire had he known there was a child in the car. The problem lies in the fact that Stafford should have never pumped the vehicle with 14 bullets with 4 of the bullets entering the little boy’s body because as body cam footage shows: Christopher Few had his hands up- the universal sign of surrender when the officer opened fire.
As reported by NY Daily News:
Disgraced Marksville deputy Derrick Stafford was slammed with manslaughter and attempted manslaughter charges for unleashing a hail of bullets at Christopher Few’s car after a 2-mile chase on the night of Nov. 3, 2015.
What Stafford didn’t know when he riddled the car with 14 bullets was that Few’s autistic son, Jeremy Mardis, was inside. At least four bullets tore into the young boy, who died within minutes. Few was critically wounded in the gunfire, but survived.
Tears rolled down Stafford’s cheeks as a prosecutor showed him pictures of the young victim on Friday.
“Never in a million years would I have fired my weapon if I knew a child was in that car,” Stafford told jurors. “I would have called off the pursuit myself.”
Stafford testified that he opened fire because he feared that Few, 26, would back up and run over his former colleague, deputy Norris Greenhouse, who had stumbled to the ground just before the chaos erupted.
Exposing his lies, body cam evidence showed a different scenario unfold.
The article continues:
“I felt I had no choice but to save Norris. That is the only reason I fired my weapon,” Stafford told the jury.
But graphic footage from Greenhouse’s body camera shows that Few had raised his hands in a universal sign of surrender before the two deputies collectively fired 18 shots at the vehicle.
Greenhouse, 25, who fired four shots at the car, is facing a separate trial later this year.
Few testified earlier this week that the deputies never gave any audible warnings before the shooting. The distressed father said he didn’t learn of his son’s death until he woke up from a coma six days later.
Few also insisted that he had never tried to escape, but only sped off from the cops to get his son to a girlfriend’s house in the event that he would be arrested.
“The whole reason there was even a chase was for his well-being,” he said.
“Most definitely,” Few responded. “Every day.”
Mardis’ shooting death wasn’t the first dark stain on Stafford’s law enforcement career.
He was suspended from the Marksville Police Department after getting indicted on rape charges in 2011. He was reinstated after prosecutors dropped the charges, but later became the target of a lawsuit charging he had used excessive force and neglected his duties as a police officer.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said his office was content with the Friday verdict.
“As we have said all along, our goal in this case was to get justice for Jeremy Mardis, his family, and the people of Louisiana,” Landry said in a statement. “Today, that happened.”
While the conviction of an officer of the law who oversteps his boundaries is absolutely warranted, many question if there was underlying racial bias at play. It was two black officers who killed a young white boy and wounded his young white father. In many cut and dry cases where the same video evidence can be produced and where the roles have been reversed, we have seen no such justice. Why is that? Do you think it is just a coincidence, or are institutions of law enforcement finally turning a new page in no longer letting offending officers get away with impunity? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
(Article By Tasha Sharifa)