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INVESTIGATIVE UNIT: Body-cam footage shows moment Hammond PD shot unarmed man in bed

4 months 3 weeks 4 days ago Wednesday, January 17 2024 Jan 17, 2024 January 17, 2024 10:01 PM January 17, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

HAMMOND - Hammond Police body camera video from a controversial July officer-involved shooting shows narcotics officers swarming into Lionell Jackson's home and the lead officer firing a single shot upon encountering the apparently unarmed man in his bedroom.

In the video obtained by the WBRZ Investigative Unit, officers force their way into Jackson's trailer just after 6 a.m. on July 15. They had a no-knock search warrant for the home, officials said.

The video shows officers breaking open the door and going up the steps. Officer Craig Dunn led the group from the living room, down a hallway, past a bathroom and to Jackson's bedroom. Going through the house, police repeatedly ordered anyone inside to show their hands and come out where officers can see them. At the back bedroom doorway, Dunn leans into the darkened bedroom and fires one shot.

After the gunfire, the officer behind Dunn takes a step into the room. His body cam video shows Jackson with his hands up, moving from his bed to the bedroom floor. His hands move to hold his neck as blood pools on the ground.

A few minutes later, Acadian Ambulance arrived. Before Jackson was taken to a hospital, a paramedic asked if he shot himself. 

The body cam footage continues with officers searching the area. Detectives said they heard pills rattling in the plumbing pipes. The video shows an officer finding a baggie in the bathtub and more pills in the toilet. 

Jackson was charged with possession with intent to distribute Schedule II drugs, tampering with evidence, five counts of possession of legend drugs and one count of possession of a firearm while in the presence of drugs. 

In the two videos obtained by the Investigative Unit, officers did not mention finding a gun. 

Jackson's attorney Daryl Washington says the shooting was non-justifiable because Jackson was unarmed. 

"You can clearly see there is blood on Lionell's pillow, the pillow he was on. You can see from the angle where this guy shot, he was in his bed. Any story they're bringing forward right now will not be supported by the evidence," Washington told WBRZ in December after he first watched the videos.

While Jackson was hospitalized after the shooting, WBRZ asked the Hammond Police Department about the shooting. The department said they handled the investigation internally. A few officers were placed on leave but quickly returned to work. 

Washington believes the shooting was not properly investigated because Dunn is related to Hammond Police Chief Edwin Bergeron. 

"In this case, a close family member of the chief was involved in this. I think what the chief is willing to do is protect a close family member instead of upholding his oath," Washington said. 

Mayor Pete Panepinto discussed the shooting during a Hammond City Council meeting in August when residents questioned city leaders about who was investigating due to a conflict of interest. Panepinto said the Hammond Police Department was not overseeing the investigation and that the city was "working ... with" the FBI.

The Investigative Unit reached out to city officials on Wednesday but did not hear back. 

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