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

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