On July 2, 2017, Benjamin Finney Jr. was sitting passenger, in a parked Honda Accord at a Mooretown intersection, when a silver Cadillac pulled up to the light. Leaning back in his seat and texting, Finney Jr. never saw the gunman jump from the other vehicle and open fire with a semi-automatic weapon.
According to the official investigative report, Finney was not the intended target, the driver Chris Hayes was, but the gunman missed, striking Ben twice in the back and killing the 23-year-old not far from where he lived.
Nearly two and a half months since that hot and tragic July night, Finney Jr.’s parents, Benjamin Sr. and Lawanda, have been relentless in their pursuit of justice.
“His mom and me, night and day we’ve been out there, trying to get everyone we can to help.” says Benjamin Finney Sr. “And we both work, but we will not stop until justice for Ben is served.”
In September, Shreveport police made an arrest in the homicide case. Later that month the suspect turned himself in after retaining a lawyer, according to police records.
However, less than one month later, the once alleged killer walked free, when a Caddo Parish grand jury determined there was not enough evidence to prosecute.
“It’s a painful feeling. Not as bad as when Ben got killed, but it’s hard. But I figured we’d be right back here.” Lawanda Finney said. “The detective working Ben’s murder, I’ve known her since she was an officer in the Shreveport police department.”
“I had a wreck one time and she was called out there. She didn’t even want to write the report up,” Lawanda Finney said. “She showed no effort, so I told Ben Sr. ‘Oh this is good.’”
“The first week our son was killed, our detective was on vacation,” Benjamin Sr. said. “So, Ben’s case just sat there on a desk.”
While the Finney’s are upset with the homicide detective assigned to their son’s murder, they are equally upset with the top leadership in the violent crimes unit, as well as Police Chief Alan Crump and Shreveport Mayor Ollie Tyler.
“The week I went up to the police station, a sergeant tells me they only have six detectives working homicide, six,” said Finney Sr. “They have to work violent crimes and there are eight types of violent crimes he told me.”
“Every time you turn the T.V. on you’re going to hear our voice,” said Lawanda Finney, talking about her belief that police department heads and Mayor Tyler are not doing enough to combat murder and violent crime in Shreveport. “We going to get justice for Ben, if we have to go above Mayor Tyler’s head, the Shreveport police department, we will."
Homicide rates in Shreveport are on the rise, but the number of arrests is going down. In a KSLA Investigation, we look into possible reasons why.
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