Local organizations call for transparency, community involvement in case of officer-involved shooting

Local organizations call for transparency, community involvement in case of officer-involved shootin

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The Southwest Louisiana Community Coalition for Action and the Baptist Ministers' Union are asking the city and law enforcement to be transparent in the investigation into the death of Juston Landry, the 26-year-old Lake Charles man killed in an officer-involved shooting last week.

What Reverend J. L. Franklin, the president of the coalition, suggests for community involvement is what he calls a “community oversight board."

“I don’t think that the mayor or the police chief, you would think, would be against a process that resolves every ounce of doubt about what may or may not have occurred in this process," Franklin said. "But, having a review board to overlook and view and have information about the context of investigations would be a splendid help in this process.”

Franklin, the president of the coalition, said he’d like to see community involvement in the investigation to allow the public to feel confident in law enforcement.

“Police department will say 'well, we have a review board, well—that’s police," Franklin said, referring to the civil service board comprised of one current firefighter, one current police officer, and three citizens.

We reached out to the city for their response to Franklin’s proposal, their statement:

“Lake Charles has established the Lake Charles Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board in accordance with state law. The Board is comprised of five members, the majority of which are citizens of the City of Lake Charles. The City believes that the Civil Service Board and other City-established committees address the request of the Coalition.”

Franklin acknowledges this board may be useful, but said there should be no law enforcement involvement in a “community oversight board."

In a statement released by Franklin earlier today on behalf of the coalition, he also asked for the name of the officer, or officers, involved, as well as their history with the department.

KPLC has filed a public records request with city and state police for information about the shooting, including the police report, the name of the officer involved, and any dash or body cam video of the incident.

Lake Charles Police Chief Shawn Caldwell, in his first day on the job, responded saying that requests for information should be sent to state police.

State police says they are processing the request.

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