Attorney says Hammond Police Department violated state law by investigating officer-involved shooting without certification
HAMMOND- Hammond residents are calling for Police Chief Edwin Bergeron to step down, claiming the department broke the law when investigating an officer-involved shooting from July 15.
A bill passed in 2021, Act 418, makes it illegal for officers without a Peace Officer Standards and Training certification to investigate officer-involved shootings. The Hammond Police Department is not certified by the POST Council, which should bar them from investigating officer-involved shootings in their own agency.
On July 15, Hammond police officers entered Lionell Jackson's home to serve a warrant. His attorney Daryl Washington says he was in his bed asleep and unarmed when one officer fired his semiautomatic rifle, striking Jackson in the neck.
After the shooting, Hammond Police Department opted to investigate the incident rather than reach out to an outside agency.
"I think the chief should at least be suspended, pending the investigation, there needs to be serious questions asked and answered, if they are not certified, why were they handling this officer involved shooting?," Washington said.
In the latest release, Hammond PD said Jackson was facing distribution charges for 600 suspected fetanyl pills and accused Jackson of trying to hide them. The arrest report obtained by WBRZ has limited information.
WBRZ went to the police department Wednesday to ask about POST certifications. Chief Edwin Bergeron was not there. Bergeron immediately called saying he could not talk to media because he is not an elected official, and directed questions should be answered by the city spokesperson. That person was also out of office for a family matter. The mayor was unavailable as he was on his way to Florida.
Sources tell WBRZ the FBI is now handling the shooting investigation.
WBRZ also reached out to the Hammond City Attorney's Office and have not heard back. A public records request of emails and phone messages from the chief has not been completed.