BOSSIER CITY, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The attorney of the family of a mentally ill man who was killed by Bossier City police in August says the family found out through the media that the officers involved would not be charged.
“Very difficult sitting back wondering what law enforcement is doing, in refusing to give information, utilizing the guys of going through a criminal investigation, refusing to respond to a public record request, etc.,” said Jefferson family attorney and managing partner of the Cochran Law Firm.
Instead, Carter says they found out by the media after waiting months for answers.
“It’s a nail-biting, painstaking, very stressful process for the family to go through, and therefore you have a situation, where the family continues to struggle and to receive this information, the way they received the information only compounds that stress coming out of Christmas.”
As for the decision itself, Carter says the family is disappointed.
“Always hoped law enforcement would do the right thing,” said James Carter, family lawyer, and Managing Partner for the Cochran Law Firm. “I’m not particularly surprised, but still very unfortunate.”
“We feel it’s a human travesty, that a person that had a mental disability would find himself, brains blown out by law enforcement who is supposed to be there to protect him.”
Johnathan Jefferson, 34, was fatally shot on August 8 by police outside his home on Plaza Circle after officers were called to respond to a report of a domestic disturbance. Family members say Jefferson was bipolar and had schizophrenia, and that he was having a manic episode that night.
According to a letter sent December 18 from DA Schulyer Marvin to Bossier Police Chief Shane McWilliams and the Louisiana State Police, the actions of officers Eric Sproles and Charles Bridges were justified because they believed they were in imminent danger.
“The family does not feel good about it, we are saddened that the prosecutor of Bossier Parish failed to bring charges against the officers who are involved,” Carter said.
The family is considering filing a civil lawsuit.