Four Louisiana officers have been charged with first-degree murder in the 2016 death of Lamar Smith, a man with mental illness.
Smith, 61, was shot and killed by Covington officers as he attempted to escape while he was in the custody of a probation officer.
On Wednesday, a grand jury decided not to indict the officers with a second-degree murder charge and first-degree manslaughter, but indicted them with charges of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, two counts of use of a dangerous weapon in connection with the shooting, tampering with evidence and tampering with public records. All four officers are accused of working with Smith to kill him.
The incident followed a probable cause hearing. An autopsy found the murder weapon was Smith’s AK-47 assault rifle. He died at a local hospital. His family and neighbors claimed he was not armed and the officers accused of shooting him.
Earlier, the Covington Police Department had made headlines after starting the hashtag #FreeLamar. It started with Covington Police Chief Phillip Gaskins’ statement on the murder charges and ended up as something of a recruitment tool for Covington police.#FreeLamar started trending in Covington on Tuesday. Several videos have since made the rounds. We’ll have a full rundown of those below. The full coverage of #FreeLamar will appear in our next issue. Posted by Covington Police Department on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can’t play nice. (See our full terms of service here.) Here are some rules of the road:
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