In what could be considered the most telling insight into police culture yet, the officer charged with second-degree murder for killing a 6-year-old child with autism has requested charges be thrown out — because he shot the boy multiple times in the head in self-defense.
Lt. Derrick Stafford, a deputy city marshal in Marksville, Louisiana, has now asked a judge to dismiss charges because — despite he and fellow officer Norris Greenhouse, Jr.’s claims at the time they did not know Jeremy Mardis was present in the vehicle they fired upon — he acted in defense of his and other officers’ lives.
Let that sink in.
This officer’s hubris in asking a judge, as well as the American public, to believe a 6-year-old child in a truck — who had obviously done nothing wrong — posed an imminent deadly threat to his life and thusly deserved to be murdered.
Although body camera footage has yet to be released due to ongoing legal proceedings, State Police Col. Mike Edmonson was asked about what video showed during a press conference announcing the arrests of two officers for the second-degree murder of the child and second-degree attempted murder of his father.
“It’s the most disturbing thing I’ve seen and I will leave it at that,” Edmonson told the media.
“That little boy was buckled in the front seat of that vehicle. That is how he died.”
Attorneys for Stafford, according to the New York Daily News, claim the child’s father had refused to stop his vehicle, had rammed Greenhouse’s car, and would not cooperate with commands to raise his hands — thus, Stafford fired at the unarmed man and his 6-year-old son “out of fear for his life and that of his fellow officers.”
On the night of November 3, 2015, Stafford, Greenhouse, Lt. Jason Brouillette, and Sgt. Kenneth Parnell pursued 25-year-old Christopher Few, whose son, Jeremy, rode as a passenger.
Few eventually stopped and raised his arms to show he did not have a weapon — which was later proven to be true. Nonetheless, as traffic continued unimpeded in the intersection where Few stopped his truck, Stafford and Greenhouse fired no less than 18 rounds into the vehicle — both occupants were hit, and though Few survived, several bullets hit his son in the head, killing him.
Initial reports claimed police had a warrant for Few’s arrest, but that later proved untrue. Indeed, Greenhouse had been actively stalking Few’s fiancée — and it became apparent the young father constituted an obstacle to his object of obsession.
No use-of-force policy exists for the Marksville Police Department, the Advocate wrote after the incident flared public outrage — not even for shooting at vehicles, which tends to have stricter guidelines at departments across the country.
Louisiana State Police viewed officer body camera footage not long after the fatal shooting — tellingly, Stafford and Greenhouse were arrested a short time later.
“This was not a threatening situation for police,” explained Mark Jeansonne, attorney for Few, after watching the body cam footage.
Rather than owning up to his responsibility in the brutally excessive shooting, Stafford is grasping at straws and using the oldest police trick in the book to dodge what he’s done — the tired, I Feared For My Life defense.
A child and an unarmed man, who reportedly cooperated with police commands to raise his arms, could not possibly have threatened these officers’ lives.
When a man with a gun and badge claims an autism-suffering child and his unarmed father posed an imminent threat to himself and other officers, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate how police training facilities are instilling terror into the hearts of people who will be released onto the public with deadly weapons at their disposal.
Or perhaps it’s time to admit that fear is just an excuse to brutalize and kill with impunity.