Cops Just Arrested the White Man They Initially Let Go After Allegedly Killing a Black Panhandler

Officers initially let Jace Boyd go after questioning, but a warrant was issued for his arrest on Tuesday.
August 27, 2020, 3:59pm
​Undated photo of Jace Boyd, provided by the Baton Rouge Police Department.
Undated photo of Jace Boyd, provided by the Baton Rouge Police Department. 

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UPDATE 12:30 p.m. The text has been updated to reflect that Jace Boyd has been arrested.

Baton Rouge police just arrested the man who allegedly shot and killed a Black man outside a local Trader Joe’s on Saturday. Officers had initially questioned and released the accused gunman, who’s white, without charges.

On Tuesday, the department issued an arrest warrant for Jace Boyd, the 24-year-old accused of fatally shooting Danny Buckley, a 61-year-old who was panhandling in the parking lot that night. By early Thursday morning, the Baton Rouge Police Department was still “actively seeking” Boyd’s whereabouts. He was wanted on charges of second-degree murder and illegal use of a weapon.

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Just after 11 a.m. local time Thursday, the department announced that its detectives had arrested Boyd with the assistance of the Louisiana State Police. He’ll be booked at the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison, according to a police statement on Facebook.

“Justice delayed is justice denied,” Ryan Thompson, one attorney for the Buckley family, told VICE News via text Thursday morning.

After police arrived at the scene Saturday night, Boyd “advised that he shot Buckley,” who was transported to a local hospital and died of his injuries a short while later, according to a police synopsis obtained by VICE News. Buckley was allegedly “aggressively harassing customers in the parking lot,” according to that synopsis. Boyd was questioned and released pending further investigation.

Boyd alleged he was acting in self-defense, a police spokesperson told the Advocate. The spokesperson also said detectives didn’t make an immediate arrest Saturday because they needed more time to collect evidence and interview witnesses.

Buckley, who is disabled, had difficulty moving and was unarmed, according to attorneys for the family. They want to see the shooting pursued as a hate crime. The police synopsis did not detail why Buckley was perceived as aggressive, whether he was armed, and did not mention panhandling.

One witness — who believes she was the last person that Buckley asked for money — came forward to the family’s attorneys and local news media this week. She said that she heard a man telling Buckley to leave her and her roommate alone, then heard gunfire. The woman, who’s white, told WAFB, a local CBS affiliate that she didn’t feel threatened by Buckley. She has also said that police initially brushed her off when she tried to immediately provide a statement, but that she was able to give police her account of what happened the following day, according to attorneys for Buckley’s family.

VICE News’ attempts to reach Boyd have been unsuccessful; a phone number listed beneath his name in the police synopsis goes straight to voicemail.

A GoFundMe that’s raised more than $10,000 for the family describes Buckley as a “father, brother, and cherished friend” who was “known and loved by many.”