Louisiana police head says he’d ‘welcome’ DOJ oversight
Head of the Louisiana State Police Col. Lamar David said Friday he would “welcome” a Department of Justice (DOJ) “pattern and practice” investigation into potential acts of racial profiling within his police force, The Associated Press reported.
“If the community is concerned about that, obviously I am concerned about that,” Davis told the AP. “I’m a Black male. I don’t want to feel like I’m going to be stopped and thrown across a car just because of that, and I don’t want anyone else to feel that way.”
Davis’s comments come a day after the AP published the results of internal investigative records showing that Louisiana State Police troopers ignored or covered up evidence of police beatings, deflected blame and interfered in attempts to root out misconduct.
“It challenged me emotionally, not just from a law enforcement perspective but as a citizen,” Davis told the AP about viewing the footage of certain incidents of police misconduct that the news outlet published. “But I have to put my emotions in check and understand what my duties are.”
Davis said he did not believe the use of excessive force is prevalent enough within his department to warrant a pattern and practice investigation by the DOJ but clarified that he wants the opportunity to correct any issues himself before the federal government gets involved, according to the AP.
Louisiana State Police came under fire in the spring after the AP released body camera footage of the fatal 2019 arrest of Ronald Greene. Police initially said Greene died in a car crash on impact, but later said Greene died on his way to the hospital after a struggle with troopers.
Davis confirmed to the AP that an internal investigation resulted in no discipline against Lt. John Clary, the highest ranking official present during Greene’s death. Clary was accused of denying the existence of his own body camera footage for almost two years, according to the AP.
Davis said his department “could not say for sure whether” he “purposefully withheld” the video.