josef richardson news conference

Lawyers representing the family of Josef Richardson speak Wednesday in Port Allen.

The family of Josef Richardson, the Port Allen man fatally shot by a West Baton Rouge deputy, called on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the shooting as they continued to press for answers nearly two weeks since the deadly encounter.

A deputy fatally shot Richardson, 38, in the back of the neck on July 25 during a "no-knock" drug raid in his room at the Budget 7 Motel along U.S. 190. Richardson's family and their lawyers called for the swift release of more information during a Tuesday morning news conference in Port Allen.

"We believe the lack of transparency is telling us that they're conspiring to conceal the truth," Benjamin Crump, a national civil rights attorney who is representing Richardson's family, said.

He later added: "The family does not trust the sheriff's department to tell them the truth."

The family's legal team is also seeking documents from the West Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office about the deputies on the narcotics task force. Officials have declined to name the deputy after he reportedly received death threats.

Family members and their attorneys have questioned the relationship between Louisiana State Police and local agencies and whether they can impartially investigate. State Police are reviewing the shooting and plan to forward their findings to the district attorney's office, a process that can take months to finish.

Richardson's girlfriend, Jessica Clouatre, said she was in the room when deputies burst through the doors, according to her attorney. She said the shooting happened seconds after and that Richardson was surrendering to law officers with his back facing them when she saw the flash of the gunshot.

Clouatre, 39, was arrested and held on suspicion of a handful of drug-related offenses.

Narcotics detectives received a tip from an informant who had bought drugs from a person inside room No. 5 of the motel. They wrote that drugs could easily be concealed, making it necessary to storm the room without warning.

Maudess Douglass, Richardson's mother, questioned why deputies felt it was necessary to serve such a warrant. She pointed to the deadly weekend shooting in El Paso, Texas when an alleged gunman killed 22 people and two dozen before officers arrested him.

"If someone can go with an assault rifle and kill a lot of people and come out alive, why couldn't my own son be alive?" she asked.

Jody Richardson, Josef’s brother, said "we want transparency for my brother.”

Reynard Douglas III, Josef's nephew, is running for an open council seat covering much of downtown Port Allen after filing to run as an independent.

Richardson's memorial service is set for Thursday with another service on Friday.

 

Email Youssef Rddad at yrddad@theadvocate.com.