Week after deputy shot, killed man, autopsy and search warrant provide few clues into reasoning
PORT ALLEN – Josef Richardson, the man shot by a West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s deputy a week ago Thursday, died when the bullet fired from the deputy's gun pierced the back of his neck and severed part of his spinal cord, an autopsy showed.
The report, released Tuesday afternoon to the family, confirms what WBRZ reported Friday from sources – that Richardson had been shot in the back of the neck. Authorities investigating have refused to confirm or provide additional details for days.
The autopsy showed there was a severe injury to the base of Richardson’s skull.
Richardson, the autopsy found, died from the single gunshot.
The gunshot was fired by a West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s deputy who, investigators have said, was conducting a search warrant at a roadside motel along US 190 northwest of Port Allen last Thursday (July 25) evening.
Deputies, authorities later revealed after relentless reporting from WBRZ, were at the motel for a drug investigation.
Jessica Clouatre, a woman in the hotel room at the time of the incident, was arrested and held until Monday night on drug charges related to an “investigation,” deputies wrote in a vague report about her arrest. The arrest report was not released for four days.
As WBRZ Chief Investigator Chris Nakamoto reported Monday, the day before the autopsy was released, the deputy who fired the shot has received death threats. The sheriff’s office has not identified the deputy. WBRZ has made an editorial decision to not release the deputy’s name.
Richardson’s family have become increasingly frustrated over the investigation. They said there has been no explanation about why such deadly force was warranted. State Police have not revealed whether Richardson was armed.
Members of Richardson's family and leaders from the local NAACP held a news conference this week, demanding for transparency.
Thursday, exactly a week after the deadly altercation, authorities reported there was no new information to be released. The deputy's name was still being withheld from officials. Other area law enforcement agencies have released the names of law enforcement involved in shootings promptly.
Through an attorney, Clouatre, the woman in the motel room at the time of the shooting, told the Baton Rouge newspaper The Advocate, the deputy fired the fatal shot "within seconds" of entering the motel room.