LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It’s been one month since 26-year-old Juston Landry was killed in an officer-involved shooting on North Martin Luther King Highway. While the officer involved was named, few other details have been made public.
Louisiana State Police said Landry was shot and killed by officer Johnathan Landry who state police said was with the department since 2015. Aside from that information, many questions in the case remain unanswered.
“Completing the investigation is relatively quick. I’m not sure the exact reason for the extension of the release of that investigation. Of course, it has to go through multiple approval processes," Dr. Steve Thompson, a former state trooper and criminal justice professor and coordinator at McNeese State University, said.
Thompson said there could be a handful of reasons for a delay in releasing information from an investigation.
“I would say the longest part would be the analysis of the evidence. The evidence is available virtually immediately and you can get a general idea of what happened," Thompson said.
Thompson said keeping information close to the vest is typical for most cases.
“That’s standard procedure essentially, in Louisiana, to withhold that, until the investigation has concluded. Of course, there’s a way to get it, but it must be done through, basically, a lawsuit filed. Even then, it’ll be subject, most likely, to a gag order where it can’t be released to the public," Thompson said.
He also added withholding information can help uphold the integrity of an investigation.
“I’m not sure the benefit of that. Maybe to prevent the inflaming of the public depending on the video and so forth. But then, you have some level of discretion there that I’ve seen exercised where they released video that might dispute stuff that might be under investigation. In other states, I’ve seen that," Thompson said.
Thompson says, to his knowledge, under public records law it is legal for the agency to withhold evidence such as body cam footage while the investigation is ongoing.
We reached out to state police again today for any update and were told they continue to investigate this incident and say they plan to forward their findings to the district attorney’s office. State police did not give us a timeline on that report.