Part Three: One-on-One with LSP Superintendent Lamar Davis
MONROE, La. (KNOE) -Louisiana State Police is making changes to how they investigate excessive use of force cases. The move comes after body camera footage was revealed in the events surrounding the death of Ronald Greene in LSP custody in 2019, and the beating of Aaron Bowman in 2019.
LSP Superintendent Lamar Davis spoke to KNOE Reporter Tyler Englander in Part Three of our special series on State Police.
Tyler Englander: “Who will make up the agency’s new Force Investigative Unit?”
Superintendent Davis: “What we’re looking for is specialized personnel that’s well in-depth as far as their experience and working use of force and in-custody death types on investigations. As we develop and identify that personnel, then we’re going to get them additional training so that they can work those specific cases. We want to make sure that our personnel is acting responsibly and constitutionally. This provides us the ability to do that. It also provides us the ability to have specialized trained personnel that can investigate those, and by having those people do so on a full-time basis, that provides a better outcome for everybody involved. The victim, the suspects, whether suspects end up being law enforcement or whether end up being a citizen on the street.”
Tyler Englander: “Now the reason I ask, who is going to make up that unit is because it has been alleged that there was a cover-up within the State Police? How can you guarantee if there if that unit is made up of people employed by State Police, that they’re not going to protect their fellow officers? That they’re going to get to the truth?”
Superintendent Davis: “I wasn’t here at that time when the alleged cover-up took place. I think my record speaks for itself. Not only my record here at State Police. My record in the military. My record as a citizen. Everyone that knows me knows that I’m going to do the right thing. That’s why I took this job. Two, that section now reports or will report when it’s made up, will report directly to me. Just like Internal Affairs. There is no plausible deniability. There is no. I did not know. I should not have known. It’s my duty and my responsibility to know what’s going on in my agency and properly investigate it.”
Tyler Englander: “As far as reporting those excessive use of force incidents up the chain of command. I know you weren’t there, but it’s been alleged that troopers during the death of Ronald Greene initially reported it is as a simple traffic accident. How can you guarantee that officers on the street will put the appropriate summary of what happened into a report to get up to that chain of command?
Superintendent Davis: “I can’t say without a doubt that a person won’t make a mistake or a bad decision. What I can say is if they do, we’re going to hold them accountable, and we’re going to fix it, and we’re going to own it.”
Davis points to the fact that he has already arrested four troopers and disciplined several others as proof that if someone doesn’t belong at State Police, he will do everything to remove them.
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