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Should Hammond PD have investigated themselves after an officer shot an unarmed man?

5 months 2 days 5 hours ago Thursday, January 18 2024 Jan 18, 2024 January 18, 2024 6:26 PM January 18, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

HAMMOND - There are more questions after WBRZ showed body camera video of a Hammond police officer shooting a drug suspect during a no-knock raid last summer.

"The body cam video is what we call neutral evidence, it's not trying to take nobody side," Attorney Daryl Washington said.

Lionell Jackson was shot one time in his bed July 15th by Officer Craig Dunn. Rather than let outside agencies handle the investigation, the Hammond Police Department decided it would conduct its own probe. State police were never asked to step in.

"That created a problem, the fact that Dunn is the nephew of Bergeron, not only is he the nephew, to my understanding chief raised him as a son," Washington said.

WBRZ was told the officers involved were placed on administrative leave, but sources confirmed they were back on duty within a couple of weeks. In documents filed in a civil lawsuit over the shooting, Hammond police acknowledged having disciplined Dunn for failing to activate his body camera during the raid. 

The city of Hammond released little information about the shooting, so  the WBRZ Investigative Unit asked for an abundance of public records, including the chief's emails. 

On Thursday, we were handed thousands of pages, with many suggesting that it may have been easier for an outside agency to handle the probe.

In the past, WBRZ uncovered that HPD did not have the state certifications to conduct their own internal investigations on an officer involved shooting. Emails support that finding, as Chief Edwin Bergeron sent a mass email for officers to sign up for classes as far as Lafayette Parish. 

Another email indicates the department may have trouble submitting evidence after authorization confusion. That evidence connects Jackson to fentanyl.

The email reads in full; 

"During our conversation it was about you sending info on the report to the (state) crime lab. After our conversation per telephone yesterday at 3:45pm, I spoke to my supervisor and he is unaware of you transporting evidence to the crime lab. You are not set up for transport and entry into the computers in both our computer system or the state police's system. You advised your were directed to bring it yourself. Being my supervisor is unaware, who authorize the change in normal evidence procedures that is performed by the two evidence custodians? I need an email for verification of the change of procedure for evidence submittal to the crime lab for (marked out) case. This will be filed with the chain of custody documents since the evidence will be released to you from me."

We asked for the chance to interview Bergeron again, but were told "the city does not comment on pending litigation."

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