Claiborne Parish D.A. removes himself from police shooting case

HOMER, LA (KSLA) - KSLA News 12 has learned that a Louisiana District Attorney has removed himself from the case of an elderly black man who was shot to death in February by a Homer, Louisiana police officer.

Claiborne Parish District Attorney Jonathan Stewart said Wednesday he is turning the case over to the State Attorney General.

Stewart said he expects the Attorney General's office to assign the case to a grand jury and it could be heard as early as January.

73-year-old Bernard Monroe was shot outside his home by one of two white police officers who had been chasing his son. Police said Monroe was armed, but witnesses dispute that fact.

Also at the briefing was Morris Dees from the Southern Poverty Law Center. He said he would represent the Monroe family in any possible civil cases related to the shooting. He said he would have up to a year after the grand jury's decision to file his case.

Here is a copy of the release Stewart sent from his office on the matter:


HOMER, LA - Jonathan M. Stewart, District Attorney for Louisiana's 2nd Judicial District, said today he is filing a motion to recuse his office from the investigation into the February 20, 2009 shooting death of Bernard Monroe, and the case will be turned over to the state attorney general.

Stewart said Attorney General Buddy Caldwell has agreed to take the case to the Claiborne Parish Grand Jury in January 2010.

Stewart said he is recusing his office because it has a number of pending criminal cases in which former Homer Police Officer Timon cox, who shot Mr. Monroe, and former officer Joey Henry, who was with Cox at the time of the shooting, are witnesses. Additionally, one of Stewart's assistant district attorneys also serves as the town attorney for the town of Homer.

"To avoid any appearance of a conflict or favoritism in any direction on the part of this office, it makes sense to turn this case over to the Attorney General's Office," Stewart said. "Attorney General Caldwell has assured me he will be involved in the case personally and that it will be a high priority for this office."

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