A storm of controversy is brewing in Lincoln Parish, Louisiana, after a police officer killed a deaf electrical engineer this past week in broad daylight outside Simsboro High School.

The man, Joshua Cloud, was a graduate of the University of Alabama’s School of Engineering. By all accounts, he was a happy, healthy, respectful, generous and kind human being. But by the official police statements, he shot at a police officer and was gunned down as a result. The only problem with the official story is that it does not match up with an eye witness accounts of the shooting.

One witness is calling Cloud’s death an act of “murder.” Quintin Crowe is a school security guard at Simsboro High. He said he was taking a smoke break when he heard a police taser being deployed. Crowe said he grabbed his camera and began recording. He observed a white male wrestling and fighting with an officer.

The man began asking the officer, shouting in fear, “What did I do?” Crowe said the officer deployed a K9 police dog on the man and said the man “busted a move” and he believed began to run in the opposite direction. It was at that instant that the shots rang out and Crowe said he saw the man fall, laying lifeless on the ground. Here’s Crowe’s first-hand account of what he saw:

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What i saw during…

تم نشره بواسطة ‏‎Quintin Crowe‎‏ في 30 أغسطس، 2017

Even though Crowe never once mentioned seeing the man with a gun, the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Department issued the following statement, saying not only did Cloud have a gun, but he shot the deputy first!

“Today, August 29th, one of our Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Deputies conducted a traffic stop in Simsboro, LA. During
the course of the stop the suspect, a white male believed to be from the State of Tennessee, became non-compliant and
combative. The suspect, produced a weapon and fired striking out Deputy in his duty vest. Our Deputy returned fire on the suspect. The suspect was subsequently pronounced dead at the scene. This incident occurred in very close proximity to the Simsboro School. Out of caution, the school
was placed on temporary lock down until the scene was secured. As is standard operating procedure for this department
the Louisiana State Police will be the agency investigating this incident. Any inquiries into this incident should be directed to the
PIO for the Louisiana State Police, or the Louisiana State Police, Bureau of Investigations, Monroe, LA, field office.
Names have been withheld, pending the notification of next of kin. I would like to offer thanks to the outpouring of
appreciation and concern that this office has received from the public and surrounding jurisdictions.”
— Sheriff Mike Stone

Sheriff Stone’s statements stand in stark contrast to the eyewitness account, as well as the character witness testimony of dozens of Cloud’s friends—many of whom now believe the police are covering up a murder.

As a result, Cloud’s friends are now accusing the sheriff’s deputy, Officer Kyle Luker, of killing Cloud and creating the narrative he shot the engineer in self-defense. They are saying Cloud was likely shot for not complying with Luker’s commands, something he could not possibly have heard as he is legally deaf.

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Fueling their suspicions is Crowe’s own admission that police took his phone and deleted the video of the incident. Even though Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Department detectives told him they are in possession of his cell phone recording and will use it as evidence, none of Cloud’s friends are accepting that conclusion. They are saying the police department and Sheriff Stone are engaged in an active cover-up of an officer-involved shooting that looks more like a murder.

Zach Cooley, formerly with the US Navy, commented on the Sheriff’s department page, You obviously have no clue who he murdered.” Another friend, Chris Schneider, responded with what one could describe as seething anger. He wrote:

“Where’s the video evidence! The victim was a solid human being with respect, dignity, and poise. A total law abiding American citizen!”

He described the incident as possibly a mistake:

“Cops mess up, they’re people too, and like people they cover up things when they mess up unfortunately.”

Schneider pointed out how not all police can be trusted as TFTP has reported. In Baltimore, MD, several officers were implicated in planting evidence on a suspect. He drew the appropriate analogy:

“I guess everyone supporting this cop on here doesn’t see the hard evidence on the news around the US of cops planting drugs and weapons on innocent people and taking them to jail for a crime they never committed. OR a cop shooting an innocent man to death in front of his own daughter two feet away from him in a car?”

Cloud’s friend then openly accused the police department of lying and covering up the truth:

“There is a real story that isn’t being shared with the public, shame on you. I hope true honest and fair justice will be served here. You have hundreds of people around the country weighing [sic] in on this case that are close with this victim.”

Schneider then called on the police department and Sheriff Stone to reveal the truth and stop trying to protect their officer:

“hope you do the right thing for the right reason. Would be a shame to see a wonderful human being’s life get swept under the floor because a cop had no integrity and neither did a whole police force in a Louisiana community. YOU ARE BEING WATCHED AND ACCOUNTED FOR!!! And if you feel threatened by that then you’re in the wrong! Because at the end of the day when you take off that uniform you are just like me and everyone else in your communities! You are nothing special!”

Drew Glines, another of Cloud’s friends, is questioning the official police narrative as well. He wrote:

“Joshua Cloud was legally deaf….. and was one of the kindest, most sincere, genuine, selfless individuals I have had the opportunity to encounter. I am privileged to call him my friend. He would never have endangered someone’s life, police or otherwise, if he did not feel his life was in imminent danger.  I eagerly await video and audio evidence of this encounter… bc this is not as cut and dry as, ‘bad guy shot cop, cop fired back’ …
When should we expect that more details will be released?”

The details the police should release immediately are the gun with its serial number, make and model, and more importantly, the video that Crowe took and police have deleted.

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Any dash cam or body camera footage should also be released as well as security camera footage of the incident recorded from Simsboro High School where police reportedly took Crowe to confiscate his cell phone footage. Such confusion and unanswered questions exist surrounding the officer-involved shooting that releasing those details in a timely manner may dispel all doubt about whether or not Cloud was murdered, as Crowe alleges, or was killed in self-defense as Sheriff Stone contends.

Schneider is demanding “hard evidence” be presented and promises he is not going to sit idly by as police try to push their own narrative of last week’s deadly encounter with police. “I already messaged them, emailed them, and writing the state later today. There needs to be noise made over this. I’ll be damned if I let a guilty man still continue to serve that community while my friend is dead,” he emphatically wrote.

Cassidy McCool is Cloud’s girlfriend. She, too, vouched for his character as a reply to Sheriff Stone’s contention that her boyfriend was shot and killed because he opened fire on deputies. She called it murder what happened to her boyfriend. She wrote:

“My boyfriend, Joshua Cloud, was the single most level-headed and calm-mannered man I have ever known. I have NEVER even seen him get upset or angry. Never has he ever been violent, he has always been a lover not a fighter. He was just on the way home from a long summer away from home. He was LEGALLY DEAF & does not wear hearing aids! He probably did not understand what the officer was saying and HE MURDERED MY SOULMATE. I need to know what this officer did to my boyfriend! I need video evidence! I need to know what you did to Josh! Josh was the most rational and ingenious man I have ever known, and he just attained his degree in electrical engineering! WHAT DID THAT COP DO TO MY BOYFRIEND?!?!? WHY DID YOU MURDER MY BOYFRIEND?!?”

Joshua Cloud was from Knoxville, TN. He was buried on Sunday. His death marks the 806th death by cop in 2017. 

UPDATE: We received the following written statement from Cloud’s fiance’ Cassidy McCool. She stated there’s still a lot of unanswered questions surrounding his death.

“This is what the Louisiana State Police Investigators have told us: The Louisiana State Police Investigator has confirmed that there is an on-going investigation on the death of Joshua Mark Cloud, a Tennessee native. Joshua was shot twice in the back while trying to get away from an attack dog after being tased with a taser-gun and a cattle-prod taser. They said Joshua was pulled over for speeding on Interstate 20 in Lincoln Parish in Louisiana. Josh had exited off the interstate and proceeded down the road before the police car turned on their lights. Josh then pulled over in front of the Simsboro High School. The officer saids Joshua refused to sign a speeding ticket. The officer told Josh to get out of the car. The officer did not tell him why he needed to get out of the truck. The officer turned Josh around, pushed him against his truck and put one handcuff on his arm. Then they said Josh did a “spin move” to look at the officer. (Josh was mostly deaf from birth and everyone in his life knew that he must read your lips to understand what you are saying. This movement initiated the officer’s violence and Josh was only trying to see what he was saying.) They said it did not shoot properly and Josh pulled them off of him, so then the officer tased Josh with a cattle-prod taser. Josh then fell back into his truck stunned by the taser. Here is where it gets sketchy… According to the report, they said that some how Josh’s gun fell into the floorboard and was in a holster and “somehow” went off while they were tussling in the truck after Josh was tazed… The officer could not even say that the gun was in his hand. This is when they claim the officer was shot in this vest. The office also claims that he throw the gun behind him on the ground. After the tussle in the truck, the officer pushed a button on his vest and set his police dog lose to attack Josh. Josh had one handcuff on his arm and the dog was latched onto his arm, when Josh started screaming “What did I do?! What did I do?!” Josh had one handcuff on his arm, the dog was latched onto his arm, and then Josh tried to get away from the dog when that man shot Josh in the back twice. Joshua’s last words were “What did I do? What did I do?” before he was shot in the back twice and killed… Why would he scream that if he just shot a cop?!? My soulmate was murdered because he was deaf. He tried to turn around to read the officer’s lips and see what the officer was saying when being handcuffed, and the officer subsequently tased him with a taser-gun, tased him with a cattle-prod taser, set an attack dog on him, and murdered him by shooting him in the back. Also, if a person is shot in the chest with a revolver at even a range of 10 feet then you get the wind knocked out of you and you would be stunned and on your back for at least 5 minutes. “Some how” this officer was able to sustain a gunshot at only inches to two feet away then the officer was m some how able to proceed to releasing his dog and accurately shooting Josh in the back almost immediately after the officer was “shot”. This does not make sense at all. There is something very wrong here.”

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Jack Burns is an educator, journalist, investigative reporter, and advocate of natural medicine