SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — The Caddo Commission president has asked the parish’s sheriff to ask Louisiana State Police to investigate the death of an inmate at Caddo Correctional Center.
“There are some citizens and some local elected officials (who) would like for you to request an independent investigation by the Louisiana State Police (LSP)” into the death of 31-year-old Casey Louis Simpson Jr., says the email Caddo Commissioner Lyndon B. Johnson sent to Sheriff Steve Prator the morning of Monday, April 5.
Johnson’s email goes on to say the “request comes with the need for an unbiased and transparent outside investigation. The public, which employs us, desires an outside investigation as a check and balance to the internal investigation being conducted within your sheriff (sic) department.”
Within hours, Prator responded to Johnson.
“Please forward any information that you have to support your claim that this investigation has not been ‘unbiased and transparent.’ Any information provided will be thoroughly investigated,” the sheriff’s email says.
Casey Louis Simpson Jr., 31, died at a Shreveport hospital at 4:10 p.m. March 16 after having been found unresponsive in his cell at 12:30 p.m. the same date, the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office confirmed March 29.
Deputies called for medical backup and an ambulance and performed lifesaving measures until Shreveport Fire Department personnel arrived about 12:45 p.m. March 16 to transport Simpson to the hospital.
The sheriff’s office has investigated Simpson’s death; the Caddo coroner’s office also is investigating, sheriff’s office spokeswoman Cindy Chadwick told KSLA News 12 on March 29.
Two days later, the coroner’s office said “preliminary autopsy results are consistent with natural causes with no evidence of trauma. Final autopsy results with toxicology will be available in two to three weeks.”
The coroner’s office also noted that “the details of the case are still under review.”
Simpson’s family members also are pushing for further investigation of his death. His mother and others told KSLA News 12 that they have asked the sheriff’s office for any evidence it has, including videos of the time leading up to Simpson’s death.
The sheriff’s office has told KSLA News 12 and Simpson’s family that he refused to take his medication more than 100 times in the time leading up to his death.
And the coroner’s office has said that the initial autopsy shows Simpson suffered no trauma before his death.
In his response to the Caddo Commission president, Prator goes on to say:
“The citizens of Caddo Parish have overwhelmingly elected me for six terms to be their chief law enforcement officer, as our constitution dictates. I have earned the trust of the citizens because of the ‘unbiased and transparent’ manner with which the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office operates under my leadership.”
The sheriff also notes that “when the Caddo Parish coroner concludes his investigation and all reports are finalized any citizen is free to do a public records request and have full access to everything not protected by federal HIPPA law.”
Below is the email exchange between Caddo Commission President Lyndon B. Johnson and Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator: