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INVESTIGATIVE UNIT: Expert weighs in, says shooting of an unarmed Hammond man was likely accidental

3 months 3 weeks 1 day ago Wednesday, January 24 2024 Jan 24, 2024 January 24, 2024 5:42 PM January 24, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

HAMMOND - One week after the WBRZ Investigative Unit exclusively obtained body camera video from the Hammond officer involved shooting, excessive use of force experts shared their interpretation.

"This was a tough situation for these law enforcement officers no matter what. I'm making no definitive conclusions because I don't have all of the evidence, it's a dangerous job, they were in a dangerous situation," Dr. Wayne Thompson, a criminal justice professo at McNeese State University said.

Lionell Jackson was shot during a no-knock warrant in July. Thompson, a certified use of force expert, says he watched the body camera video several times from the day Jackson was shot.

"The reaction of the officer, the physical reaction, almost immediately after the gun is fired, like a reflex, not a conscious decision, was to jerk back like it was a surprise to him that the gun went off, so it looked to me like this was an accidental shooting," Thompson said.

He says the video raised several concerns. 

"We would have to believe at this point that the officer entered the room, identified the male, identified he had something in his hand, removed the gun from safe to semi, inserted a finger into the trigger guard, and pulled the trigger to make a head shot in a half a second. I can't do that, I've never seen a swat operator do it that quickly. I've never seen it before, in my experience, it exceeds in my training and experience, normal human reaction time to do that in that time," Thompson said.

Thompson also pointed out officers are usually trained to shoot a threat twice in the torso.

It's not the first time a use of excessive force expert has watched video involving officer Craig Dunn.  In 2017, Dunn, alongside now Police Chief Edwin Bergeron, is seen punching a handcuffed man in the booking room.

"There should have been some sort of disciplined levied against the officers involved," attorney Michael R. D. Adams, partner with DeCuir, Clark & Adams, L.L.P, said.

Adams was the attorney hired by the city council to make a recommendation on what to do then. He says the Lionell Jackson shooting is no surprise.

"There were red flags all over the place. It was really tragic an incident like this occurred, it probably did not need to happen," Adams said.

Thompson said he has faith that the FBI will extensively investigate. 

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