SHREVEPORT, La. – One of the two officers indicted this week in connection with their actions while on the job has come under scrutiny before.
Cpl. Phillip Tucker, indicted Wednesday on a charge of simple battery, shot and killed an armed man in October 2013. The mother of the dead man sued Tucker and the city of Shreveport, alleging the officer used excessive force. The court disagreed and dismissed the lawsuit.
A Caddo grand jury indicted Tucker and Officer Cinterrica Mosby, 25, in connection with a street brawl that took place on Mother’s Day in Shreveport. Almost 50 SPD officers responded to a disturbance call at a home on Devaughn Street. The officers ended up, however, arresting four people at a house across the street who were not part of the disturbance.
The same grand jury cleared those four people of criminal charges.
Mosby, 25, was booked into the Caddo Correctional Center at 10:20 a.m. Friday on a felony charge of malfeasance in office. She is free on a $5,000 bond.
Tucker was arrested Thursday on a charge of simple battery. He’s free on a $1,000 bond.
Dash cam video of the fight shows Mosby hit a woman, who is already restrained by other officers, in the mouth. She is heard on video talking about her hand being swollen.
There also was conflicting information from police and eyewitness reporters whether Mosby fell or was pushed into a ditch that escalated the situation.
As for Tucker, his body camera records him putting his K-9 on a man who was restrained on the ground by other officers. Tucker is heard telling the officers to move and he lets his dog bite the man.
Attorney Ron Miciotto is representing Mosby and Tucker. He said both officers will mount a vigorous defense of the charges.
Substitute Police Chief Ben Raymond has placed the two officers on paid administrative leave as is required by civil service regulations and SPD policy. He’s also conducting an administrative investigation.
District Attorney James Stewart said the case landed in his office because of felony charges placed against those arrested. As Stewart began to look closer, facts appeared to be missing, he said.
"Because we were receiving information from two different sources, the information we received from SPD did not include information we received from another source. … We needed to talk to everyone and the best vehicle we had was the grand jury,” Stewart said.
The shooting incident in which Tucker was involved almost six years ago happened minutes after the officer responded to a report from a woman saying a man, John Shepherd, was suffering a medical problem but also was potentially violent and armed with a knife.
EMS arrived on the scene first but retreated after Shepherd came after them with the knife. Tucker was the first SPD unit get there.
He armed himself with a shotgun and ordered Shepherd, who was not outside, to get on the ground. Shepherd ignored the command and went inside of the home’s garage. He then came out and started walking down the driveway toward Tucker.
Tucker said he believed Shepherd was advancing on him; Shepherd’s mother, Marjorie, said her son stumbled. Tucker shot Shepherd when he was about 10 feet away from him. It happened about 2 minutes after Tucker arrived on the scene.
Tucker and the firefighters on the scene said Tucker raised the knife over his head as he went down the driveway. Marjorie Shepherd, a woman at the home and a neighbor said Shepherd’s hands were at his side when he was shot.
Marjorie Shepherd accused Tucker of excessive force.
In his court affidavit, Tucker said: ‘I used lethal force because there was an immediate threat of serious injury or death to me and others, in addition to me the firefighters who were nearby.. . . I only use[d] lethal force at the point I believed I was about to be seriously injured and when I believed lethal force was necessary. I believed Mr. Shepherd was moving towards me faster than I could move backwards.”
”Under the totality of the circumstances and irrespective of whether the knife was over Shepherd's head or by his side, this court finds that Cpl. Tucker reasonably believed that Shepherd posed a threat of serious harm to the officer and/or to others,” the court wrote in dismissing the lawsuit Marjorie Shepherd filed against Tucker and the city.