SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Mayor Adrian Perkins told members of the Shreveport City Council that he has a number of concerns surrounding Tommie McGlothen’s death after reviewing the coroner’s report released Tuesday morning.
Caddo Coroner Dr. Todd Thoma determined that McGlothen Jr. died from excited delirium, but said his death could possibly have been prevented.
“When confronted with Mr. McGlothen, it should have been obvious that he needed medical care. He was left in the back of the patrol vehicle for 48 minutes before he was found unresponsive and not breathing,” Dr. Thoma said in a statement on his findings.
“First and foremost, Shreveport police officers are charged with serving and protecting all of our citizens and that includes those with mental illness,” said Mayor Perkins during Tuesday’s city council meeting Tuesday afternoon.
Moving forward, Perkins said the Shreveport police and fire departments will provide more extensive training for excited delirium and other psychiatric conditions. His goal is for first responders to detect the signs and symptoms earlier and intervene.
“We’re responsible for those in our custody and we must do everything we can to ensure their safety and well being,” Perkins said.
When outlining the investigation, Perkins explained that unless a citizen files a formal complaint, the Shreveport Police Department typically does not conduct administrative investigations until the criminal investigation is closed.
It was decided to move more quickly late last week after McGlothen’s family began the process of filing a formal complaint, Perkins said. He added the SPD recently concluded a portion of the criminal investigation and decided to proceed with the administrative investigation to make the process quicker and easier for the family.
“The quicker we start the administrative investigation, the faster we can make all of the evidence available to the public.”
Police Chief Ben Raymond announced Monday afternoon that the officers have been placed on administrative leave. Their names have not been released.
Perkins said it’s important that the public understand that if officers are found to be in violation of any policies they will be disciplined appropriately, but he added that ultimately these matters are left up to the Civil Service Board.
“The citizens and members of the city council need to understand that neither myself nor Chief Raymond has the final say in disciplining our officers,” Perkins said. “Yes, we can hold them accountable, but the Civil Service Board gets the final say.
“We ask a lot of our police officers and most of them do a great job, but law enforcement is one of those professions where we can’t afford to protect bad people. The Civil Service Board has protected a lot of good officers, but historically they have protected some of the bad ones.”