Family of man killed by deputy doesn't trust local authorities, wants feds to investigate
PORT ALLEN - Nearly two weeks after a man was killed in the Budget 7 Motel by a West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's deputy, a team of attorneys and family members of Josef Richardson are asking for the Department of Justice to investigate.
Ben Crump, a national civil rights attorney, returned to Louisiana Wednesday demanding transparency. Since the shooting, he and the family say there has been a lack of information released from law enforcement.
Josef Richardson was shot in the back of the neck as the River West Narcotics Task Force was executing a no-knock warrant looking for drugs. The attorney representing Richardson's girlfriend, who was inside the motel room, said Richardson and his girlfriend had their hands up when the warrant was executed.
"Right now, the reason we are asking the Department of Justice to come in is because the family does not trust the sheriff's department to tell them the truth," Attorney Ben Crump said.
Following the shooting, the unidentified deputy was placed on leave as Louisiana State Police took over the investigation. A spokesman with state police released the following statement:
"The Louisiana State Police remains committed to conducting a thorough, independent and impartial investigation. We have full confidence in our investigative team and the integrity they bring to the investigation. State Police continues to have open communications with the immediate family. We understand and share the family’s desire and need for answers. We urge patience to allow our investigators to gather the facts and evaluate evidence in order to provide an accurate account of the incident.”
The West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office said it supports the family in having the Department of Justice come in to investigate, but chose not to do an on-camera interview.
Richardson's mother fought back tears as she addressed the crowd Wednesday.
"If somebody can go with an assault rifle and kill a lot of people and come out alive, why can't my unarmed son come out alive? Why? Why did they go in with guns with a warrant?" She said. "So if someone comes to your house with a warrant you need to be aware because they might come in shooting."
As Louisiana State Police continue their investigation, the family's attorneys are questioning whether it will be fair.
"Sheriff Cazes has family members that work inside state police," Attorney Ron Haley said. "In positions in high power and authority. That raises a conflict of interest."
U.S. Attorney Brandon Fremin said his office cannot confirm or deny whether an investigation even exists.
"We are not allowed to talk about a current investigation for all the obvious reasons. You don't want to upset it, and it's important to know we follow policy when we are limited in what we can say about a current or potential investigation," Freemin said.