Cops Shot Man Execution Style, Widow Says

     CROWLEY, La. (CN) – A suicidal man was shot “execution style” in the back of the head by police officers whose body cameras had allegedly been turned off, the man’s widow claims in a federal lawsuit.
     Police claimed they fired at Melvin LeBlanc after hearing a shot, but LeBlanc’s gun was later found to have been unloaded, according to the lawsuit filed this week in the Lafayette. La. Federal Court.
     In the lawsuit the dead man’s widow, Amy LeBlanc, says that on March 11, 2014, officers David Melancon and Dwayne Schexnider answered a call from Melvin LeBlanc’s roommates, who claimed he was acting irrationally and speaking of hurting himself.
     Melancon and Schexnider arrived to Melvin LeBlanc’s home, engaged their video equipment and entered the house, according to the complaint.
     The officers located a loaded gun, separated the bullets from the gun and gave the bullets to LeBlanc’s roommates, who were told to hide them.
     The officers returned later in response to a second call from LeBlanc’s roommates who reported that their friend’s irrational behavior and suicidal talk was escalating.
     “All officers disengaged their body cams and dash cams or in the alternative the video recordings were not properly preserved,” the lawsuit states. “Although there were four units on the scene there is no video or audio recording of the incident.”
     After allegedly turning off their video equipment Melancon and Schexnider put on their Kelvar vests and approached the house, the lawsuit says.
     Within a short time, they forcefully kicked open the door and threatened to send the police dog into the house. After hearing the police, Melvin said he was coming out.
     Melancon and Schneider said they saw Melancon with a gun, heard a shot that shattered the storm door and they began to return fire.
     Melvin LeBlanc was hit with two bullets that were not life threatening. A third bullet, allegedly fired by Officer Melancon, was fired execution style while LeBlanc was on the ground and entered the back of his head behind his ear. A total of 14 shots were fired, according to the complaint.
     The same Colt revolver Melancon and Schexnider had taken the bullets from earlier in the day was found at the scene. The gun was still unloaded, confirming that Melvin had not shot at the police, the lawsuit says. Louisiana State police collected a gunshot residue kit from Melvin LeBlanc’s right hand but “for some inexplicable reason did not conduct analysis on said kit,” the lawsuit says. The only shell casings and bullet fragments found at the scene belonged to Melancon and Schexnider.
     The lawsuit says there are numerous similar instances where Crowley police officers “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.”
     Crowley, once known as “the rice capital of America” is the seat of Acadia Parish (Louisiana has parishes instead of counties) in the southern, middle portion of the state and has a population of roughly 13,000. Crowley’s motto is “Where life is rice and easy.”
     Named defendants are the City of Crowley, its Mayor Greg Jones, Police Chief K.P. Gibson and officers Melancon and Schexnider.
     LeBlanc’s widow is seeking treble damages for excessive force, wrongful death and destroying or manipulating evidence. She is represented by J. Clay Lejeuene of Crowley.

%d bloggers like this: