A grieving woman has filed suit in Lafayette, Louisiana against the town of Crowley’s mayor, the chief of police and two officers who shot and killed her husband in 2014.
According to KATC.com, Amy LeBlanc says that two Crowley police officers shot her mentally ill husband “execution style” after turning off their body cameras.
The officers claim that Melvin LeBlanc shot at them, prompting them to open fire, but an investigation found that the LeBlanc’s gun was not loaded, let alone fired on the day of his death.
Crowley Police Chief K. P. Gibson said in a prepared statement that an internal investigation by state police had cleared the officers of any wrongdoing. He went on to say that he believes the lawsuit is a political hit against him, timed to coincide with Crowley’s upcoming sheriff’s election.
The suit alleges that on March 11, 2014, officers David Melancon and Dwayne Schexnider responded to a call from LeBlanc’s roommates that he was acting erratically and threatening suicide.
The officers visited the premises, where roommates presented them with LeBlanc’s gun, which was loaded. Melancon and Schexnider removed the bullets from the gun, told the roommates to hide them from LeBlanc and left.
Later they received a second call from LeBlanc’s housemates saying that his suicidal threats and behavior were escalating. However, there is no video evidence at all of the second encounter.
“All officers disengaged their body cams and dash cams or in the alternative the video recordings were not properly preserved,” says Amy LeBlanc’s lawsuit. “Although there were four units on the scene there is no video or audio recording of the incident.”
Officers reportedly kicked in the house’s door and threatened to send in a police dog after LeBlanc. LeBlanc called out to officers that he was exiting the building.
What happened next is up for dispute. Melancon and Schexnider say that they heard a shot from LeBlanc’s gun and opened fire.
LeBlanc was struck twice by non-fatal bullets and collapsed to the ground. It was then that Officer Melancon fired a third shot point-blank into the base of LeBlanc’s skull, killing him. The lawsuit states that a total of 14 shots were fired, none of them by LeBlanc.
The same Colt revolver that the officers had emptied earlier in the day was found near LeBlanc’s body. It was still empty and had not been fired.
A gun residue kit was used on Melancon but, the suit states, “for some inexplicable reason,” the results were never processed and entered into the record of the killing.
According to the suit, it is common practice for Corley police to “either turn off their body cameras, fail to engage them when encountering citizens within the city limits or otherwise compromise the evidence when it is not beneficial to the official police story.”
Amy LeBlanc is seeking treble damages for excessive force, wrongful death and destroying or manipulating evidence.