Two deputy city marshals in Louisiana were arrested on the counts of second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder last Friday, after video footage from their body cameras showed a shooting that killed a young boy and wounded his father.
Jeremy Mardis, a 6-year-old autistic boy, was killed on Nov. 3 after he was struck by five bullets while riding in the front passenger seat of his father’s SUV. His father, Chris Few, is hospitalized and is in serious condition after the two were the subject of a police chase in Marksville, Louisiana.
However, it remains unclear as to why Few was initially pursued by the officers, due to the fact that State police have said there were no warrants out for his arrest. The officers’ initial report of Few’s vehicle backing into theirs conflicts with newer information, and no weapons were found in Few’s vehicle.
The officers in question are Derrick Stafford, 32, a lieutenant with the Marksville police, and Norris Greenhouse Jr., 23, a full-time marshal in Alexandria, Louisiana.
At a news conference on Friday, State police superintendent, Col. Michael Edmonson called the video footage of the shooting, captured on the body cameras worn by the officers, the most disturbing thing he has seen during his career.
“Jeremy Mardis, six years old, he didn’t deserve to die like that, and that’s what’s important,” Edmonson said. “I’m not going to talk about it, but I’m going to tell you this – it was the most disturbing thing I’ve seen, and I will leave it at that.”
Edmonson also said he believes nothing is more important than the badge police officers wear on their uniforms, and the integrity of why they wear it. “It’s not a right, it’s a privilege,” he said. “Tonight that badge has been tarnished by the following two individuals.”
On Sunday, Edmonson credited the video footage with helping the department come to its decision on the officers.
“I’ve been a police officer for 35 years, but as a father—much less as a state police—it was a disturbing, disturbing video that I watched,” Edmonson said, “and that really helped move us forward.”
NBC News reported that earlier this year, both Stafford and Greenhouse, along with several other Marksville officers, “were accused in a civil lawsuit filed in federal district court of using excessive force during a Libertarian event July 4, 2014, in downtown Marksville.”
The lawsuit was filed by Ian Fridge, who alleged that after openly carrying a firearm at the event that he thought he was allowed to have, he was tasered by the officers and charged with “resisting arrest, battery on an officer and other crimes,” despite claiming to be “completely compliant.”