An attorney for the McGlothen family say Shreveport officers knew that Tommie McGlothen had a mental health condition–but nonetheless proceeded to beat him and abuse him until death.
The family of a Black Louisiana man who died while in police custody has filed a lawsuit against the Shreveport Police Department, its chief, and several individual officers.
According to The Associated Press, the lawsuit names as defendants four officers—all of whom were charged with negligent manslaughter and malfeasance following an investigation into the death of Tommy McGlothen, Jr.
The officers, notes KSLA, have been identified as:
- Treona McCarter
- Brian Ross
- D’Marea Johnson
- James LeClare
The McGlothen family claims the four officers punched, kicked, and beat Tommie; they also targeted him with pepper spray and shocks from a stun gun.
While McGlothen was accused of instigating a fight with officers, he was nonetheless left battered and alone after the altercation. Dashcam footage shows McGlothen sitting unattended for nearly an hour, in clear respiratory distress.
It took an estimated 48 minutes before his arresting officers summoned medical help.
The lawsuit alleges that the Shreveport Police Department, along with each officer, played a role in McGlothen’s death.
James Carter, the McGlothen family’s attorney, said that Tommie had a “known” mental health condition that the arresting officers were aware of or should have been aware of.
In their complaint, the McGlothen family says that Shreveport does not adequately screen officers and officer recruits and offers only negligent supervision for sworn law enforcement. Furthermore, they claim that the Shreveport Police Department does not have an effective system to discipline officers who are accused of gross misconduct.
The McGlothen family is seeking an unspecified amount of compensatory and punitive damages, as well as reimbursement for Tommie’s funeral costs.
Earlier this week, Carter told reports at a recent press conference that his clients had asked Shreveport to provide $25 million in recompense—and pledged to file a lawsuit if the demand was not met.
Since Shreveport did not respond to the demand letter, Carter says his clients had no choice but to file suit against the city.
“While we were unfortunately placed in a position where we had to go forward with a lawsuit instead of the City of Shreveport and its police department accepting its responsibility for the ‘negligent homicide and malfeasance in office’ where the grand jury decided that these officers should be charged,” Carter told reporters. “We continue in this journey to justice to seek justice for Tommie McGlothen and his family. We’re going to see it through to the very end.”