- Associated Press - Saturday, September 6, 2014

NEW IBERIA, La. (AP) - After six months, Louisiana State Police finished their investigation into a Victor White III, who suffered a gunshot while handcuffed, submitting their report Friday

But Sixteenth Judicial District Attorney Phil Haney told the Daily Iberian (https://bit.ly/YkIJ8o) they won’t act before the conclusion of an FBI investigation.

“We’re going to reach out to the family through their attorney,” he said.

Meanwhile, Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal expressed sympathies for Victor White III and the slain 22-year-old’s family.

“In my opinion, this was a tragic loss of life and it is difficult to understand why it happened,” Ackal said in a statement. He said he would accept conclusions of outside investigators.



Haney, like Ackal, said Friday he welcomes FBI involvement, which was announced earlier this week.

“We will coordinate and work together with them to hopefully produce the same facts and truth,” Haney said.

White, a New Iberia resident, was arrested March 2 for possession of marijuana and cocaine, handcuffed and placed in the rear of an Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office patrol car. Deputies say White produced a gun and shot himself in the chest, killing himself.

An autopsy report released in August listed White’s death as a suicide from a self-inflicted gunshot, based on gunpowder residue tests and White’s alleged statement that “he was gone” as testified by sheriff’s deputies. The report also noted White had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.132 and tested positive for THC.

White’s father and others believe there’s no way a handcuffed man who had been searched by deputies at least once could brandish a handgun and shoot himself. The Rev. Al Sharpton joined the chorus of doubters Thursday at a rally at Southern University in Baton Rouge, calling the findings “an insult to the intelligence of the people of this state.”

They note that State Police originally said White shot himself through the back when a later autopsy found the bullet entered the front right of his chest.

White’s family has hired Monroe attorney Carol Powell Lexing, who defended six black teenagers accused of beating a white student in Jena in 2006, and Florida attorney Ben Crump, who represented Trayvon Martin’s family after his death and currently represents Michael Brown’s family in Ferguson, Missouri.

Powell Lexing said she expects to speak with prosecutors Monday.

Stephanie Finley, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Louisiana said in a Thursday statement that federal officials “will determine what additional investigation, if any, is necessary to determine who fired the fatal shot, and whether the evidence demonstrates a willful civil rights violation.”

The White investigation marks the second ongoing probe by federal agents into possible civil rights violations in New Iberia, a city without a municipal police department that relies on sheriff’s deputies for law enforcement.

At the 2013 Sugarcane Festival, one deputy was captured on video beating a kneeling, handcuffed man. Ackal fired the deputy, who was never identified.

Finley’s office has not finished the Sugarcane Festival investigation.

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Information from: The Daily Iberian, https://www.iberianet.com

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