Footage has been released of Louisiana State Police officers shooting a six-year-old boy dead in an action that lawyers are calling ‘self defence’.
Jeremy Mardis was shot dead last November when two deputy city marshals fired at the car he was in with his father Christopher Few.
The bodycam video from the marshals has been released by the state judge as officers Stafford and Greenhouse await separate trials on second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder charges.
The 14 minutes of footage shows the shooting, which lasts less than a minute, followed by the gut-wrenching aftermath when the officers find the lifeless body of Jeremy Mardis and his critically wounded father, Few, on the pavement.
Prosecutors claim that deputy Derrick Stafford has a pattern of using excessive force, which provides a motive for shooting at Few while his hands are raised in the air, the Metro reports.
Then Stafford is heard asking “Is he hit at all?”, ‘Who?’ Parnell replied. “The driver,” Stafford said. “Yeah” Parnell responded.
I never saw a kid in the car, man. I never saw a kid, bro.
Matthew Derbes, a prosecutor from Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office, said: “Motive is something the jury wants to hear. Why would they do this?”
Defence attorneys for the marshals argue that they acted in self-defence after Few drove recklessely on the two-mile chase before ramming into Greenhouse’s vehicle.
Christopher LaCour, one of Stafford’s attorneys, said:
Christopher Few was a suspect before they knew that child was in the car.
District Court Judge William Bennett did not think that Few’s car posed a threat to the officers as they fired.
That car was not being used as a deadly weapon at that time, I daresay it was not even close to being used as a deadly weapon at that time.
Prosecutors claim that, due to the lack of sound at the start of the footage, it is not possible to ascertain if Stafford started shooting before Few raised his hands.
Investigators traced 14 shell casings to Stafford’s semi-automatic handgun and determined four other shell casings recovered at the scene came from Greenhouse’s gun.
Of the four bullet fragments recovered from the boy’s body, three matched Stafford’s weapon and another couldn’t be matched to either deputy.
Judge Bennett refused to consolidate the cases for single trial, so Stafford’s trial is scheduled to start November 28, and Greenhouse has a March 13, 2017, trial date.