No one would tell The Rev. Victor White how his son died, but one coroner's investigator gave him a tip: “I can’t say anything,” White recalls the official telling him, “but you should look into your son’s death.”

That account is included in the New York Times' recent in-depth look at the death of White's son, Victor White III, while he was detained by an Iberia Parish sheriff's deputy in March 2014, and controversy surrounding Sheriff Louis Ackal in the case's wake.

Police said White, while in the back seat of a locked police car with his hands shackled behind his back, had committed suicide by shooting himself in the back with a handgun that an officer had not found during an earlier search.

White’s family has long contested that account, eventually filing a lawsuit that claims, among other things, that Sheriff Ackal fails to adequately train his deputies and tolerates excessive uses of force.

Such allegations might take down some sheriffs. But not Ackel, a fourth-generation New Iberian who has survived a recall effort and a State Police investigation and was reelected to a third consecutive term as sheriff in 2015.

Ackal also escaped a four-count federal indictment that stemmed from a federal probe into apparently rampant abuses by an Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office narcotics unit and a series of beatings at the parish jail. Although a federal jury acquitted Ackal at the end of a week-long trial in Shreveport in early November, ten of his deputies pleaded guilty to federal charges, with several taking the stand against Ackal to testify that he tolerated or even directed their beatings.

White's death and Ackal's trial exacerbated racial tensions in stubbornly segregated city of New Iberia. The New York Times again plums the history of strained race relations through a series of controversies over policing in the city's mostly black West End, including a 2006 incident during which deputies working under Ackal's predecessor, Sid Hebert, fired tear gas on a crowd following the annual Sugar Cane Festival and Fair.

The Advocate's Jim Mustian explored the legacy of that incident and the divisions exposed by Ackal's trial and the conviction of numerous deputies in a feature story published days after the sheriff's acquittal.

But through the turmoil, White's death — referred to in the New York Times piece as a "Houdini suicide" because of the perplexing physical contortions involved in the official account of the shackled shooting — has continued to provoke questions, a pending civil suit and his father's push for more answers.

See the full story here.