Another Ferguson? Young Black Man Shot In Chest With Hands Cuffed Behind Back. Police Say Suicide.


Photo courtesy of the White family

A familiar story is unfolding in New Iberia, Louisiana.

According to statements made by Louisiana State Police immediately after the incident, on March 2nd, 2014, 22 year old Victor White, III, of New Iberia, Louisiana, was stopped by police. Police suspected White was involved in a fight at a local convenience store. A deputy searched White, found narcotics on his person and arrested him. White’s hands were cuffed behind his back. He was placed in the back of a patrol car, then transported to the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office. Upon arriving at the station, White refused to exit the vehicle. As the arresting deputy called for assistance, White retrieved a handgun that he was hiding in his pants, then shot himself in the back. White was pronounced dead at a local hospital later that day.

However, the police department account of events sounds unlikely and the family doesn’t buy it. “My son didn’t shoot himself. I never believed it. I won’t believe it,” said Victor White, Sr.

In the five months that followed, the family was kept in the dark. No new information was released. Then, late last week, the Iberia Parish Coroner’s Office released the first page of the autopsy report. The autopsy, performed the same day White died, describes no back wounds at all. Instead, his cause of death is described as a gunshot wound to his right chest that passed through his left lung and heart, exited through his left armpit, and lacerated his upper arm. Although the autopsy still reports the official cause of death as suicide, the evidence suggests otherwise.

Yes, you read that correctly. The official police story, now corrected for accuracy by the autopsy is… White was stopped and thoroughly searched. Police found drugs, but no weapons. Then White, while seated in the back of a patrol car, with hands cuffed behind his back, miraculously produced a gun missed by deputies during their search. White then shot himself in the chest.

In light of this new evidence, the events, as told by the Louisiana State Police, now appear to be even more suspicious than before. If we go by the police report, White, in addition to being in possession of drugs, was an expert in sleight of hand and a highly skilled contortionist.

Following the release of the autopsy, Victor White, III’s father said, “Here is a family that, we are still grieving,” said White, Sr. “I’m angry the autopsy report took so long. I’m angry and frustrated with the fact that it’s still not over.”

In the deputy’s defense, the weapon found on White’s body is not carried by Iberia Parish Sheriff Officers. However, dozens of other scenarios could much more logically explain how the gun came into White’s possession.

Local Lafayette Louisiana television news stations are reporting the story. A report from KLFY filed today summarizes the shooting and KATC offers an analysis of the autopsy by experts.

Incidents where unarmed black men are killed by police have been making headlines in the months since White’s death:

* The NYPD strangled to death an unarmed, asthmatic Staten Island man named Eric Garner. Garner died on July 17th.

* The LAPD shot and killed Ezell Ford on Aug. 11th. Ford, an unarmed, mentally ill 25-year-old, was shot three times in the back.

* In a case that’s created weeks of riots and intense media coverage, Michael Brown was killed by local police in Ferguson, Missouri. The unarmed teen was shot six times, once in the head, on Aug 9th.

The White family is desperately trying to get to the bottom of what really happened. If you would like to help, the White family has launched a fundraising campaign to raise money for an independent autopsy and crime scene tests.