Acrobatic Movements or Racism?: Autopsy Contradicts Louisiana Police Incredible Claim that Black Man Shot himself with his hands cuffed behind him
From [HERE] and [MORE] An autopsy report released this week cast further doubt on a police officer’s claim that a suspect committed suicide by shooting himself while handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser, reports KATC.
According to the first page of the official autopsy report released by the Iberia Parish Coroner’s Office, Victor White III, 22, died from a gunshot to the chest, not in his back as reported by the arresting officer.
According to initial information offered by Trooper Stephen Hammons to the press back in March, Victor III was stopped under the suspicion that he was involved in a fight at a convenience store near his home. Hammons claimed the unnamed deputy involved searched White III, found unidentified narcotics on his person, and arrested him. When they arrived at Iberia Parish Sherrif's Office, they said Victor III refused to exit the cruiser and became "uncooperative." According to police, he was handcuffed, with his hands behind his back, in the back seat of a police cruiser. According to the police report, the arresting officer went to get help and when he returned he found White critically wounded from a gunshot wound to his back. [MORE]
Police claim that White had somehow hidden a gun in the backseat of the cruiser and committed suicide by shooting himself. White died shortly after, with police stating there were no surveillance cameras in that area of the parking lot where the car was parked.
Questions were immediately raised as to how White could have smuggled a gun into the cruiser and then managed to shoot himself in the back when left alone. “My son didn’t shoot himself. I never believed it. I won’t believe it,” said Victor White, Sr., the father Victor White. “I know they beat him before he arrived at the station,” he said, “because those who were with him before he was arrested said he didn’t have a mark on him.”
Despite initial statements made by authorities that said Victor III was shot in the back, the report describes no back wounds at all. Instead, his cause of death is described as a gunshot to his right chest that perforated his left lung and heart, exited through his left armpit, and lacerated his upper arm. It was reported in initial local accounts of the shooting that Victor III was handcuffed behind his back. So in order for him to have shot himself in the chest, he would have had to pull himself through his cuffed arms in the backseat of that cop car—and of course, have a gun in the first place.
The report still lists his death as a suicide. The autopsy further reveals that White suffered from some sort of blow to the face, listed on the report as two upper facial abrasions near his left eye.
Admitting that the case is still being investigated, State Police Master Trooper Brooks David said that state troopers originally did believe the gunshot entry wound was in White’s back.
No explanation was given for how White could have shot himself in the chest with his hands cuffed behind him.
The report indicates Victor White III was shot in his right chest in the front, and on the side, with a trajectory "slightly" front to back. Chris DeLay from UL's Criminal Justice Department also saw the report, and while he's not ruling a suicide out, he said it would be hard.
"If that is in fact what happened, it would take a lot of acrobatic movements to accomplish," says DeLay.