Trial Set For Louisiana Deputy Who Shot and Killed 14 Year Old Boy

Louisiana – A trial is set for April 9 in a civil suit against the Terrebonne Parish sheriff and two officers accused of violating the constitutional rights of a teenager who was shot and killed by a deputy in 2014.

Deputy Preston Norman fatally shot 14-year-old Cameron Tillman about 5:30 p.m. Sept. 23, 2014, at an abandoned house in the Village East neighborhood near Houma.

On March 26, a grand jury declined to indict Norman, who said in a State Police investigative report on the incident that Tillman had pointed a pistol-like BB gun at him.

The teenager’s parents, Wyteika Tillman and Morrell Turner, filed a lawsuit Sept. 21, 2015, in U.S. District Court in New Orleans. It names as defendants Sheriff Jerry Larpenter, Norman and Deputy Andrew Lewis, who also entered the house.

The lawsuit alleges the Sheriff’s Office violated the Fourth, Fifth, Eighth and 14th amendment rights of Tillman and other teens in the house. The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches and seizures; the Fifth and 14th allow for due process; and the Eighth prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.

According to the lawsuit, Tillman was “nonviolent” and “posed no threat” before he was killed. He, his brother and four friends were sitting around a table in the abandoned home, which they used as a clubhouse, talking and listening to music, according to the State Police report.

After a series of delays and postponements, U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo set the trial for April 9. A pretrial conference is scheduled for 2 p.m. March 14.

The Sheriff’s Office is being represented by Houma attorney Bill Dodd and New Orleans attorneys Gustave A. Fritchie III and Richard Edward McCormack.

“The case is set for April and we’re going forward with it,” Dodd said Monday in a phone interview. “It will be tried in New Orleans in front of a federal judge and a jury. We were ready to go to trial last time, but the court continued it because it had a scheduling conflict with a criminal case.”

Tillman’s brother, Andre Tillman, is also listed as a plaintiff, along with Yolanda Tillman, Tamika Payne, Shonell Thomas and Brenekie Thomas, whose four minor children were in the home at the time of the shooting.

Attorneys Carol Powell Lexing, of Monroe; Benjamin Crump, of Tallahassee, Fla.; and John Wayne Milton, of Lafayette, represent the plaintiffs.

Lexing declined to comment Monday.

The plaintiffs accuse Norman of failing to announce himself as he knocked three times on the door under the carport. They say the BB gun was on the table and Tillman opened the door empty-handed.

The deputies shouted profanity at the other teenagers and ordered them not to move as Tillman died after being shot four times in the torso and abdomen, the lawsuit alleges. The lawsuit also claims the deputies held the other teens at gunpoint and placed them on their stomachs outside before keeping them at the Sheriff’s Office for several hours.

The plaintiffs allege “deliberate indifference, gross negligence and reckless disregard to the safety, security and constitutional statutory rights” of the teenagers and “excessive force (and) violence.” They accuse Larpenter of failing to properly train, supervise or discipline the two deputies.

In court papers, the Sheriff’s Office contends the deputies’ actions were done in “good faith and with probable cause, without malice and under laws believed to be constitutional.”

“The actions of defendant Preston Norman in the discharge of his weapon were legally justified based upon reasonable suspicion and probable cause and his belief that his life was in great danger as well as the life of his fellow officers, as well as the general public as this incident took place in a subdivision which was and is highly populated, and the call to which he and fellow officer, Andrew Lewis, were responding to, made mention of individuals with weapons,” the Sheriff’s Office says in its written response to the lawsuit.

Norman remains with the Sheriff’s Office, but Lewis has since transferred to the St. James Parish Sheriff’s Office, Dodd said.

“He left us on good terms and moved to St. James to be closer to his family,” Dodd said.

The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages, including for psychological harm, mental pain and suffering and funeral and burial expenses.


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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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