Day 2: Tommie McGlothen’s father, sister take the stand
SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Tuesday, June 14 is day two in the trial of four Shreveport police officers charged in the death of Tommie McGlothen Jr.
McGlothen, a 44-year-old Shreveport man, suffered paranoid schizophrenia and died following a violent encounter with SPD in April 2020.
Brian Ross, James LeClaire, D’Marea Johnsons and Treona McCarter face charges of negligent homicide and malfeasance in office.
On Tuesday morning, the state called McGlothen’s father and sister to the stand. Both testified that they called SPD the day McGlothen died, asking for help in having him involuntarily committed. They told the court he was saying he wanted to die, fearing he had COVID-19.
Two of the officers charged in the case, plus a third SPD officer responded to the call. According to family and video evidence, police refused to commit McGlothen because they said he didn’t pose a threat to himself or anyone else at that time.
Prosecutors argue based on his first encounter with McGlothen, and a second incident later the same day, police should have known he was suffering a psychiatric episode and needed help the third time they encountered him on Eileen Lane. That third encounter, according to prosecutors, led to McGlothen’s death.
Afternoon testimony centered on three experts: a critical care doctor who treated McGlothen the night he died, the pathologist who performed his autopsy and an investigative analyst for the company that makes tasers used by SPD.
Prosecutors argue McGlothen died by suffering from sudden cardiac arrest after being struck, maced and tased multiple times by police. They also allege the defendant officers failed to tell paramedics about the violent nature of the struggle.
During cross-examination, pathologist Dr. James Taylor told the court he could not determine the cause of death and did not determine the death to be a homicide. Taylor also testified that officers tasing, macing, striking and placing McGlothen’s head in a spit bag did not cause his death.
Caddo Parish Coroner Todd Thoma took the stand late Tuesday afternoon. He testified that he ruled McGlothen’s cause of death as delirium - an agitated state that left McGlothen impervious to pain, highly aggressive and delusional.
McGlothen was left largely unattended in the back of a police car for 48 minutes. And Thoma told the court his death was potentially preventable had he been taken to the hospital earlier.
On cross-examination, Thoma further explained McGlothen most likely would have died regardless of when he was transported due to excited delirium having a low rate of survival.
A total of 18 witnesses have taken to the stand so far. The trial is expected to last most of this week before Judge Chris Victory renders a verdict.
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