Body camera footage out of Louisiana has reportedly shown the unfortunate continuation of a disturbing trend of police shooting Black men in the back.
On January 11, Lake Charles Police Officer Jonathan Landrum responded to a call that a man threatened a gas station clerk with a gun. Landrum located 26-year-old Juston Landry, who had a history of mental health issues, down the street from the gas station and holding a BB gun. Body camera footage made public on Monday show Landrum confronting Landry and ordering him to put down the gun. Landry continued to tell the officer that it was just a BB gun before he took off running. Landrum began shooting and went on to kill Landry.
It was later found that Landry was shot multiple times once near his right ear and even in the back. According to Associated Press, Landrum went on to tell the Louisiana State Police that Landry had pointed the gun at him, something that turned out to be a lie, according to the AP, which reported it has viewed the police body cam footage. In a state report, Landrum also said he believed “deadly force was needed due to Landry’s previous threat to the store clerk, his failure to comply with commands and the threat he felt towards himself and the public.”
On April 4, a grand jury announced that it would not be bringing charges against Landrum, which is a tune all too familiar in this country.
“This is truly a tragic, tragic event,” District Attorney John DeRosier told KPLC the same day. “Not only for the family who’s lost their son, their brother, their child, but for the police officer’s family. It’s just a sad and unfortunate event and so tragic.”
Landry’s family is demanding justice and has since renewed calls to have legal action taken against Landrum. An attorney for Landry’s family, Derrick Kee, said that the body camera footage amounts to a “murder on camera.”
“There is nowhere in America where a citizen gets to shoot someone who is that far away and running away even farther,” Kee told the AP on Monday. “It was well known in our community that Juston suffered from mental illness, and you can’t deal with the mentally ill in the same manner as other people.”
The family is planning on filing a lawsuit seeking damages and calling on the Department of Justice to investigate the case.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Less than a month ago, Michael Rosfeld, a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania cop was cleared in the killing of 17-year old Antwon Rose, an honor student who was shot in the back while running away last year.