Derrick Stafford shot 14 rounds at a vehicle driven by an unarmed man.
Last year, Louisiana Officer Derrick Stafford fired 14 shots into a van driven by an unarmed man with his hands raised, killing a 6-year-old boy with autism.
A guilty verdict:
On Friday, an Avoyelles Parish jury found Stafford, 33 guilty of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter in a 10-2 vote. Parish is a former Marksville deputy marshal and one of two cops arrested in the 2015 incident
Video showed Christopher Few had his hands out the driver’s side window, a gesture showing he’s unarmed and surrendering after the low-speed chase he’d led officers on that night was over. However, Stafford and fellow officer Norris Greenhouse fired a total of 18 shots at Few’s SUV. Few was gravely wounded and his son, Jeremy was killed.
When prosecutors showed Stafford pictures of the slain boy in court, he reportedly cried saying, “Never in a million years would I have fired my weapon if I knew a child was in that car. I would have called off the pursuit myself.”
The Advocate reports that Stafford’s defense couldn’t prove that Few attempted to back his vehicle into the officers, which is what the officer had claimed during in the investigation.
One of the prosecutors in the case, John Sinquefield, described the low-speed pursuit that night as more of a “parade” than a chase, and called the shooting “an execution,”
Few testified saying that the officers didn’t warn him that they were about to open fire. He added that he learned about Jeremy’s death when he woke up in the hospital six days after the shooting.
The other officer accused in the shooting, Greenhouse, 25, faces murder charges in a separate trial in June.
The Guardian reports that both Stafford and Greenhouse have been previously sued separately over claims of excessive force or bad police work. In 2011, Stafford was suspended from the Marksville Police Department after being indicted on rape charges, but got his job back after the charges were dismissed.