Louisiana Law Enforcement Theater

Act one

November 2016

Let the good times roll, eh? Another election season bites the dust which I’m sure most of us are happy to have it all over with. The atmosphere is filled with the thrills of success along with the agonies of defeat while the unemployed politicians jockey for positions inside the winner’s administrations. It happens every time. Even before the handshakes have finished and even while the congratulations are still being offered, the campaign confetti is quietly swept under the rug along with a whole bunch of campaign promises. It happens every single time.

Now that everything is said and done, the democratic way, the citizens are a little anxious while they wait to see the positive changes that they voted for. But, let’s face it, we always vote for a better good and yet the results have been… well, you know. A majority of people feel that the politicians spend more time creating divides among us than building bridges of trust. Will the results of the 2016 elections be any different than the elections of 2015?

Check back with me a year from now and keep your fingers crossed that I come back with good news.

What we can do in the present is measure how well our choices in 2015 have advanced society. The 2015 elections of Louisiana, which the following paragraphs and subsequent chapters will cover, were focused on the Sheriff elections in four southern parishes. Acadia Parish, Iberia Parish, Lafayette Parish and Vermilion.

The Sheriff of Acadia Parish is K.P. Gibson who has managed to stay completely off the radar since his election one year ago. Sheriff Gibson was the police chief of Crowley when he was elected and he left the Crowley PD with at least two lawsuits against him before he took the Sheriff’s oath. There has been no official statement as to whether or not a settlement has been reached in the Melvin Leblanc case-

The lawsuit accuses the officers of either disengaging their body cameras and dash cams or not properly preserving the video from the scene.

Officers shot and killed Melvin LeBlanc, the officers say he shot first…”A total of 14 shots were fired.” And evidence proves that none of the shots were fired by Leblanc.

There also has been no official statement as to whether or not a settlement has been reached in the Clay LeJeune case -

Chief Gipson’s officers in the Crowley police department made the choice to break down his door and then hit him their stun guns because LeJeune’s daughter was outside calling for their dog. The officers believed it was the cries of a child in distress and so they chose to break down the door in aggressive fashion.

It is no mystery why Sheriff Gipson is keeping his head down. Although, it was easy for him to remain behind the scenes because Sheriff Louis Ackal had center stage for most of this year.

Sheriff Ackal of Iberia Parish was elected to his third term in office one year ago. During his campaign, Ackal was persistently hounded with questions regarding the Victor White case. Victor was a young black man who was searched twice, handcuffed behind his back, arrested and thrown into the back of a squad car, and then he was driven to the Iberia Sheriff parking lot and, well…. after that, nobody really knows for sure what happened because all of the cameras around the sheriff’s office were mysteriously offline or otherwise compromised that night.

All that we do know is that Victor White died after he was shot while in the back seat of the squad car. The official investigator of the incident is State Trooper Katie Morel and she somehow came to the conclusion that Victor White’s death was a suicide. She concluded that Victor White died from self inflicted gun shot wounds to the chest while he was handcuffed behind his back. The White family attorney, Carol Powell-Lexing, says the investigation contains "an avalanche of discrepancies" and “the finding that White committed suicide is preposterous.”

In fact, the closer you look the more preposterous things appear to be and so I decided to call up Trooper Morel to ask pointed questions. But after admitting that she was, indeed, the lead investigator for the case, she then deflected all of my questions to Trooper Brooks David. I received the following email from Trooper David.

-----Original Message-----
From: Brooks David <Brooks.David@la.gov>
To: Dawn Marcelle <dawnmarcelle@.com>
Sent: Sun, Oct 23, 2016 6:58 pm

Subject: Re: My Advice from Trooper Morel

Your request for information has been forwarded up through the Chain of Command. As soon as I get a response from them, I will correspond over email.

Thanks,

M/T Brooks David

Louisiana State Police

Public Affairs/Troop I. 
                                                
Sent from my iPhone

And, so, I waited for a reply from his Command Chain to get answers to these questions:

·         Has Trooper Katie Morel has ever found an officer unjustified for their actions - specifically in an officer involved shooting? If so, please provide me with the case numbers.

·         Has Trooper Morel participated in any 'implicit bias' training? Can you give me evidence where she ever agreed with a witness who conflicted with an officer’s account of said facts? If so, please provide me with the evidence.

·         Has there ever been a situation where Trooper Morel documented new evidence in any case that did not benefit the police? If so, please provide me with some kind of evidence or opinion that the State Police is confident that her contributions to justice have been fair and impartial.

·         As a State Police appointed investigator into the Victor White scenario, Trooper Katie Morel came to the conclusion that the incident was a suicide. I wanted to ask her to explain her logic in her own words but since you, Trooper Brooks David, were not part of the investigation, I'll have to ask you to provide a copy of Trooper Morel's explanation.   I want to know how she justified the death of Victor White as a suicide.

 

Maybe it’s just me but it blew my mind when the voters were able to shrug off all of that Victor White baggage and then vote Sheriff Ackal back into office for another term. But then – well, you know.

Four months after winning the election, Sheriff Louis Ackal was indicted on a variety of charges including civil liberty abuses. Very quickly, the citizens of Iberia Parish began suffering a full blown case of voter’s remorse and began organizing a recall petition. They wanted to fire their Sheriff before he even started his term.

Week after week, the federal investigation against Ackal continued to expose layer after layer of department malfeasance. In the beginning of the investigation only four of Ackal’s deputies pleaded guilty. Then two more pleaded guilty, then another three deputies pleaded guilty and finally, one more. At least ten deputies pleaded guilty to violent and severe civil rights violations, BUT, they say that they were only following orders from their boss, Sheriff Ackal. Their testimonies showed us a culture of complacent criminal conduct and racial hatred inside the Iberia sheriff office. The sport of Nigger-Knocking – which is a sport of beating up black men in Iberia Parish -  wasn’t frowned on by the Sheriff. Then we heard Sheriff Ackal on a recording as he referenced a federal prosecutor with phrases like “this sorry son-of-a-bitch Jew bastard” and then “f*****g shoot you right between your g*******d Jewish-eyes-look-like-opossum bastard.”

In my opinion, any Sheriff who would freely allow his deputies to participate in Hate Speech, like the N word, inside a parish where 33% of the citizens are black ~ that is a sheriff guilty of criminal negligence against humanity. The entire state of Louisiana is already in mourning after police shot a black man and then three officers were slaughtered apparently in an act of revenge. The atmosphere of racial tension is already explosive without the Sheriff throwing gas on the fire. But that’s just my opinion because….

After seven months of anticipation, Sheriff Ackal’s trial lasted less than a week.

On Friday, November 5, 2016, almost one year after he was elected to his third term in office, Sheriff Ackal was acquitted of all charges. After the acquittal, the Sheriff stood on the courthouse steps and declared, “I AM NOT A CROOK!”

Hmmmm, those words don’t conjure up any voter remorse, eh?

Ackal’s defense was that he hired trained professional liars to work undercover in his department. Apparently the jury believed his defense and thought the Sheriff was being framed by his own men. The Jury was unanimous in their verdict of NOT GUILTY.

As hard as it is to believe, Sheriff Ackal is innocent. He is now promising to go back to the Sheriff office of Iberia Parish and conduct full psychological evaluations on all of his deputies. Dontchya know, Sheriff Ackal promises he will get his shit together, and just in time for his third term in office.

Oh ~ remember my questions regarding Victor White’s supposed suicide in the Sheriff parking lot? Trooper Brooks David told me he sent my questions up his chain of command for answers. Within 36 hours after Sheriff Ackal was acquitted Trooper David sent me the official Louisiana State Police response to all of my questions. Nice.

-----Original Message-----
From: Brooks David <Brooks.David@la.gov>
To: Dawn Marcelle <dawnmarcelle@.com>
Sent: Sun, Nov 6, 2016 6:20 am

Subject: Re: My Advice from Trooper Morel

Ms. Marcelle

The investigation speaks for itself.

Thanks,

bd
                    
Sent from my iPhone

Whatever you say, Trooper David. I suppose the investigation does speak for itself and that’s exactly why there are so many questions like, How in the world did Victor White shoot himself in the chest while handcuaffed behind his back? Did he escape from the handcufffs? Shoot himself? And then recuff himself behind his back? Assuming Trooper Katie was anywhere close to accurate in her investigation, could anyone tell us how long Victor had been a contortionist? Did he perform in any circus acts?

There are very few attorney’s with the testicular fortitude to stand up against any cop in Louisiana, however, when Jeffery F Speer knocks on their door, they know they’ll have some explaining to do. Mr Speer has handled several officer shooting cases, so I called him up and asked if he had any encounters with the Victor White case or Katie Morel.

To my surprise, many of the questions I gave to Trooper David have already been asked. In fact, Jeffery Speer has depositioned Trooper Katie Morel more than once regarding her investigations of police related shootings that Speer has handled. He tells me that Trooper Morel has never found any cop liable or at fault, etc, nor has any conflict between citizen and police statements been decided in favor of believing the citizen over any cop in a police shooting case.

Now that Sheriff Ackal is back off the leash, I’m afraid Jeffery Speer will be busier than ever. And if he had had his way, he would never see another officer related shooting case. Ever. In his own words:

 I'd like to never see, hear or have to handle another one of these officer involved shooting cases again because they are an obvious reflection of a sickness or ailment in our community since each comes with a family that is permanently injured, a police department whose reputation in the community is (or will be) injured, causing the relations between citizens and the boys in blue to grow further and further apart, while the only people who profit are the defense lawyers for the police, who bill endlessly for defending the actions of police officers who vowed to protect and serve rather than shoot to kill!  Don't get me wrong, I believe everyone should be allowed to earn a living and I'm sure some will point to the fact that I earn a fee when my clients collect but I only earn a fee when my client's collect whereas the lawyers for the police bill endlessly, at taxpayers expense and they get paid no matter what the outcome, regardless of whether they win or lose, making the occurrence of each case, no matter how horrible, a new opportunity for their firm's to profit.  I'd happily waive off the collection of all future contingency fees simply to insure my own children are raised in a community where the police can be trusted to protect, rather than fear them.

                                                                                                Jeffery F Speer

Read LEO Theater ACT2 by clicking here