Lawsuit claims video shows Jefferson Parish deputy shooting young boy after he surrendered
JEFFERSON PARISH — A federal lawsuit claims that one year ago, a 14-year-old boy was shot in the back by a Jefferson Parish deputy despite the fact that the boy had already surrendered to authorities before the deputy fired their weapon.
According to WWL-TV, attorney Christopher Murell is representing 14-year-old Tre'mall McGee and Murell says footage from officer body camera video supports the lawsuit's claim.
“Thank goodness it wasn’t more than one shot because Tre’mall would be dead right now,” Murell told WWL-TV.
The lawsuit alleges an officer can be heard on video threatening to shoot. That video, which hasn’t been released, is from a Westwego officer who was assisting the sheriff’s office. Murell has watched the video and says it shows the teen was defenseless and complying with orders when he was shot.
“He was literally laid out on the ground with his nose in the dirt,” Murell said.
The incident took place on March 20 of last year when McGee was apprehended by authorities after fleeing from a stolen car in Westwego. The lawsuit claims McGee and another juvenile, who is also a plaintiff in the case, didn’t realize the car was stolen.
According to Murell, McGee’s mother watched footage of the shooting and indicated her relief at finally seeing the truth.
Murrell said, “Tre’mall’s mom, when she saw her son shot, went up and hugged the television because she finally saw the truth of what happened.”
WWL-TV interviewed McGee's mother, Tiffany, in June of 2020 and at that time she urged local authorities to be honest about the incident, saying, “Take responsibility on what you did. Look me in my eyes and just give me a good reason on why. You were that scared, you were that much of a coward, of someone laying on the ground unarmed.”
According to the news outlet, the lawsuit also claims officers used excessive force on the other teen, including kicking him in the face.
The lawsuit also notes that neither the shooting nor any injuries that the juveniles sustained were mentioned in the initial arrest report. It wasn’t until months later, when attorneys held a news conference, that an additional report was made. Though the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office does not comment on pending litigation, last June Sheriff Joe Lopinto told WWL-TV reporters he couldn’t talk about the case because it involved juveniles.
“People are looking for answers. They’re always looking for answers, but we have a process that is in place,” Lopinto said at the time. “I can’t even identify the child, the circumstances behind it or anything.”
This lawsuit reveals names and highlights other recent cases of alleged excessive force against the sheriff's office; McGee’s family hopes this information will lead to more answers.
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