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Two Louisiana police officers were charged with second-degree murder for shooting and killing a child who was buckled into the front seat of a car they were chasing. The shooting was caught on film but the footage has not been released. Apparently when it is, we will not like what we see at all.
The footage was "extremely disturbing," Colonel Mike Edmonson of the Louisiana State Police told reporters. According to The Atlantic, Edmonson said, "I'm not gonna talk about it, but I'm gonna tell you this. It is the most disturbing thing I've seen and I will leave it at that."
Jeremy Mardis, a 6-year-old special-needs student, was shot several times in the head and chest while police were chasing after his father, Chris Few. A forensic report on how many guns and bullets were fired will be released next week, with autopsy results to follow in eight weeks.
Louisiana State Police arrested the officers, Norris Greenhouse Jr. and Derrick Stafford, on charges of second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder. Although initial reports were that police were chasing the vehicle because Few had an outstanding warrant, Colonel Edmonson reportedly refuted that claim.
Why officers were so intent to get Few, and why they were apparently indifferent to the presence of a small child in the vehicle remains unclear. "That little boy was buckled in the front seat of that vehicle, and that is how he died," Edmonson said. But he still has not explained why the officers were after the dad. Few is still in the hospital.
The Camera's Eye
Officers in this case were wearing cameras. The use of recording devices on police has been found to change the behavior of officers, making them much less likely to use excessive force. Cameras also protect police from false accusations of excessive force.
In late 2014, President Obama announced that the government would spend $75 million over three years to distribute 50,000 body cameras to police departments across the country, saying that "evidence shows that body-worn cameras help strengthen accountability and transparency."