The Caddo Parish Grand Jury on Friday, September 18, 2020, returned indictments against four Shreveport Police Department officers in connection with the April 5, 2020 death of Tommie Dale McGlothen Jr.
Treona McCarter, Brian Ross, D’Marea Johnson and James LeClare, are charged with negligent homicide and malfeasance in the death of McGlothen, 44, following an incident with a homeowner in the 3700 block of Eileen Lane.
McGlothen, who had a known mental condition, died at an area hospital a short time after his detention and arrest by the officers. In reviewing the case, Caddo Parish Coroner Dr. Todd Thoma determined McGlothen’s death was preventable in that the responding officers should have known McGlothen needed medical treatment. The officers had, in fact, been notified of McGlothen’s mental condition during the first of three encounters with officers within a short time span. In each encounter, McGlothen exhibited signs he was a mental patient in need of medical treatment.
Dr. Thoma noted McGlothen was not a candidate for incarceration given his medical status. McGlothen’s extended 48-minute, largely unsupervised detention in the back of a police cruiser without medical treatment, as well as the use of excessive force in detaining him, were substantial factors in his death in a process known as excited delirium.
The Coroner’s review led to a Caddo Parish grand jury investigation that was delayed due to the necessity of obtaining all the evidence related to the three encounters McGlothen had with SPD that day, McGlothen’s medical records, as well as a review by experts in the fields of forensic pathology and use of force by police. Without a medical history, a local forensic pathologist performing the autopsy was constrained in rendering a cause of death, even though he related it to possibly excited delirium. The forensic pathologist deferred the formal cause and manner of death classification for determination by Dr. Thoma.
A review by a nationally recognized forensic pathologist confirmed Dr. Thoma’s determination of death through excited delirium, but noted that the combination of the physical force used by the officers upon McGlothen and the delay in medical attention caused McGlothen’s death. Additionally, a nationally known expert in police practices and police use of force with experience involving “in-custody” deaths related to excited delirium noted the officers mishandled Mr. McGlothen from the first encounter forward. By the time the SPD officers encountered Mr. McGlothen on the third occasion, they knew he was suffering from mental health issues.
In this instance, the SPD officers used excessive force in violation of SPD Taser policy; used excessive use of physical force that was injurious to Mr. McGlothen when it was unnecessary; failed to call for medical assistance; and placed McGlothen in the patrol cruiser on his head, limiting his ability to breathe. Finally, the officers failed to transport McGlothen to the hospital or call for paramedics for transportation to the hospital for care and treatment.
The SPD officers’ violations of use-of-force policy and protective-custody policy demonstrated a reckless disregard for a known risk of harm to McGlothen. These resulted in the indictments for negligent homicide and malfeasance in office.
The four indicted officers were notified they were subjects of the Grand Jury investigation and were given the opportunity to testify. Each chose to testify and three were represented by counsel.
If convicted, each of the officers faces up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000 on each count.
In other cases, the Grand Jury returned three true bills. These are:
* State v. Christopher Cortez McLemore, 31, of Shreveport, first degree rape. This indictment was issued under seal due to the nature of the crime involved.
* State v. Jennifer Lois Laverne Ford, 31, of Sibley, second-degree murder, in connection with the June 4, 2020, slaying of Jasper Corneil Martin III.
* State v. Derion Jamison, 17, second-degree murder and two counts of attempted second-degree murder, in connection with the July 19, 2020, slaying of Ha’Shoun Collins and the attempted slayings of Traveon Webster and Quantarius Collins.