No Federal Charges In Victor White III’s Police Custody Death
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department says no federal charges will be filed in the death of a man who was fatally shot while handcuffed in the back of a sheriff's patrol car in Louisiana.
The coroner in Iberia Parish had already ruled that Victor White shot himself on the evening of March 2, 2014, despite being handcuffed behind his back while sitting in the car after a drug arrest.
Tuesday's Justice Department statement stopped short of concluding White shot himself. But it cited expert opinions that the gun was close to the body when fired. It noted that gunshot residue was found on White's hands. And it said video showed that White had, earlier in the evening, reached his cuffed hands around to his front pants pocket. The fatal shot entered the right side of White's chest.
This comes after months of parallel investigations by the Louisiana State Police and the FBI. I stand by my actions from the beginning of this tragedy, that I followed proper procedure to ensure a just outcome. I was also prepared to act accordingly regardless of the findings of the investigations.
Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal said the Justice Department's finding exonerates Lt. Jeffery Schmidt and Corporal Justin Ortis and no charges shall be filed.
"I stand by my actions from the beginning of this tragedy, that I followed proper procedure to ensure a just outcome," Ackal said in a press conference Tuesday afternoon. "I was also prepared to act accordingly regardless of the findings of the investigations."
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