Police: Louisiana officer arrested for killing Black man
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A white Louisiana police officer was arrested Thursday for fatally shooting an unarmed Black man who was trying to flee police responding to a domestic disturbance call earlier this month, authorities said.
After reviewing evidence and footage from officers’ body-worn cameras, state troopers charged Shreveport Police Officer Alexander Tyler, 23, with negligent homicide in the death of Alonzo Bagley, 43.
Louisiana State Police on Thursday released body camera footage of the fatal encounter as well as audio from the 911 recording reporting the initial disturbance.
Officers responded to the disturbance around 10:50 p.m. on Feb. 3 in Shreveport, a city in northwest Louisiana. In the 911 call, a person who identified herself as Bagley’s wife said her husband was “loaded on something” and threatening her and her daughter.
Tyler and another unidentified officer arrived at the apartment, where Bagley opened the door holding a glass bottle with brown liquid. Bagley said that he had to put away his dog, walked to the back of the apartment onto a balcony, jumped to the ground outside and ran. The officers then began chasing him.
“Upon rounding a corner of the building, Officer Tyler observed Mr. Bagley and fired one shot from his service weapon, which struck Mr. Bagley in the chest,” Col. Lamar Davis, the superintendent of Louisiana State Police, said at a news conference earlier this month.
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In the video, Bagley can be heard saying, “Oh God, you shot me,” as he slumped to the ground.
The officers immediately rendered aid as one of the men — it is unclear who — said, “No. No. Sir. Sir. Hey. Hey. Hey. No. No.”
After the shooting, Tyler made “multiple statements claiming the suspect came toward him and he could not see his hands,” according to court documents by state police. Investigators did not find any weapons in Bagley’s possession.
Tyler, who has been with the police department since May 2021, is currently on paid administrative leave, Shreveport Police Chief Wayne Smith said Thursday. Smith said, to his knowledge, Tyler had been involved in one policy violation in which there was “violence to a suspect” but did not elaborate further.
It was not immediately clear whether Tyler had hired an attorney who could comment on his behalf, but as of Thursday afternoon he was released on a bond of $25,000. In Louisiana, a negligent homicide charge carries a prison sentence of up to five years upon conviction.
Family members of Bagley have filed a $10 million lawsuit against Tyler.
“The lethal force used against Mr. Bagley was unjustified, unreasonable, excessive, and in violation of Mr. Bagley’s rights under the United States Constitution and the laws of the State of Louisiana,” the lawsuit said, which was filed by Bagley’s wife, mother and stepdaughter.
The family has hired a Louisiana attorney Ronald Haley, who has represented other high-profile clients include the family of Ronald Greene, a Black motorist whose 2019 death in state police custody in north Louisiana prompted lawsuits and criminal charges against law enforcement officers.
During a Thursday afternoon press conference with some of Bagley’s relatives, Haley said the fact that Bagley fled from police should not equate to a “death sentence.”
“Flight does not mean shoot to kill,” Haley said. “Flight does not mean you are the judge, jury and executioner, and that’s what happened. That was what happened in this case ... and it is an incident that we see far too often in the state. It’s an incident that we see far too often around this country.”
During the news conference, Xavier Sudds said he hopes his brother’s death “means something.” Louisiana has had multiple high-profile fatal officer-involved shootings — including the ones involving Greene and Alton Sterling, a Black man who was shot and killed by an officer outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge after being wrestled to the ground.
“I appreciate everybody’s condolences and prayers but none of that compares to the pain that I’m feeling, the pain that my mom is feeling. … That’s going to linger for a while, for a long time,” Sudds said.