Two moonlighting Louisiana police officers, Norris Greenhouse and Lieutenant Derrick Stafford, will be charged with murder, following a shooting that killed six year-old Jeremy Mardis and left his father, Chris Few, fighting for his life. Greenhouse, Stafford and two other officers fired 18 rounds at Few, who was not armed, and his son when attempting to arrest Few.
The two officers, who were working second jobs as marshals for Avoyelles Parish Ward 2 at the time of the shooting, were arrested and have been charged with second-degree murder yesterday (6 November) after body camera footage taken during a police chase was examined. Both Mardis, who was autistic, and his father were shot in the Louisiana town of Marksville on Tuesday (3 November).
Stafford and Greenhouse are both officers with the Marksville Police Department. But at the time of the incident, they were working as marshals. Local marshals provide security in courts and serve warrants, and are authorised to carry firearms and have similar powers as regular police officers.
They reportedly attempting to arrest Few when they, and two other officers, shot him, and that Mardis was shot accidentally. However, the investigation into the shooting has been hampered, as the four officers involved have refused to co-operate fully with investigators.
Marksville Police chief Elster Smith, told a news conference: "Nothing is more important than this badge that we wear on this uniform and the integrity of why we wear it, because the public allows us to wear that, it's not a right it's a privilege. Tonight, that badge has been tarnished by these two individuals.
"This is about Jeremy who was six years-old and he didn't deserve to die like that, and that's what's unfortunate. It is important that we continue a methodical and detail orientated investigation, because the integrity of this case is something that's really important. "
Relatives of the dead have accused the officers of indiscriminately opening fire on Few's vehicle. They said that they not aware of any warrants against Few.
The US police have come under considerable scrutiny in recent times for killing unarmed civilians. Riots broke out in the US town of Ferguson last year following the killing of unarmed citizen Michael Brown an 18-year-old African-American male by white police officer Darren Wilson. Only last month paralysed man Jeremy McDole was shot dead in his wheelchair in standoff with Delaware police.