Everything We Know So Far About the Shooting of a Six-Year-Old Autistic Boy by Louisiana Cops
The official accounting of the incident remains murky at best, and the two officers charged with second-degree murder have a history of violence.
Last Tuesday night, around 9 PM, Megan Dixon argued outside of a bar called TJ's Lounge in Marksville, Louisiana, with her fiancé, Chris Few. After the spat, she sped off with a friend while Few went to pick up his autistic six-year-old, Jeremy Mardis, from a relative. Later, the couple met up at a stoplight, and Few got out of his car at the intersection in hopes of coaxing Dixon into coming home.
"I wouldn't do it," she later told the Guardian. "I'm stubborn."
That was the last time the three of them were together.
Soon after the stoplight exchange, two black-and-white cars with flashing lights pulled up behind 25-year-old Few and his son, according to Dixon. A chase ensued, followed by a confrontation outside of a state park that left Few shot in the head and his child dead after being riddled with bullets. The official accounting of the incident remains murky at best, and it's fair to wonder how either of the officers who allegedly shot at Few and his son still had their jobs in the first place.
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On Friday, 32-year-old Derrick Stafford, a lieutenant with the Marksville Police Department, and Norris Greenhouse Jr., 23 and a full-time city marshal in nearby Alexandria, were charged with second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder. Both officers were working as part-time deputy marshals at the time of the shooting, a gig usually associated with serving court papers rather than shooting at civilians. Both had also been repeatedly accused of callous violence in the past.
Easily the most startling accusation: In October 2011, Stafford was indicted by a grand jury on charges of aggravated rape against two different women, according to The Town Talk, a local paper. However, the case was dropped in May 2012—the same year that Stafford allegedly broke a 15-year-old girl's arm when breaking up a fight.
Stafford and Greenhouse, Jr. have also been accused of inflicting mob violence. In 2013, a still-pending lawsuit claims, they helped pepper-spray a crowd of people.
This July, a man named Ian Fridge sued the city of Marksville and a slew of officers—including Stafford and Greenhouse Jr.—after he was arrested an an Independence Day event. The libertarian was arrested for carrying a gun, resisting arrest, and assaulting Stafford. In a complaint, which is embedded below, Fridge alleged that officers antagonized him by saying things like, "You definitely aren't a local boy" and that he shouldn't have a gun because "there are women and children around."
Later, Fridge alleges, the officers pinned him, Tasered him, and then deleted a phone recording he had on his phone that captured the encounter.
The Associated Press interviewed Few's lawyer, Mark Jeansonne, who said that as of Monday, his client was still in the hospital and did not yet know his son had been killed.
Adding to the confusion surrounding the case, local District Attorney Charles A. Riddle has recused his office from investigating because one of his prosecutors is the father of Greenhouse, Jr. Greenhouse and Few also apparently knew each other prior to the fatal encounter, CNN reported. The state attorney general's office is poised to pursue the case instead, according to the AP, and bond for both officers has been set at $1 million.
One of the key pieces of evidence for that prosecutor to rely on is the footage from the body camera worn by a third responding officer, Marksville Police Sergeant Kenneth Parnell. Neither Parnell nor Lieutenant Jason Brouillette, another city marshal who was at the scene, have been charged with any crimes, and they are not believed to have fired their weapons. Local cops only recently began wearing the cameras, Mayor John Lemoin told CNN.
Colonel Mike Edmonson, superintendent of the Louisiana State Police, has already seen that body cam footage, which allegedly shows Few putting his hands up before the officers unloaded.
"It was the most disturbing thing I've seen," he said. "I will leave it at that."
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