A young man is dead, an officer on administrative leave after the shooting. It is another troubling incident, but Louisiana State Police have promptly taken charge of the investigation.
The harsh rhetoric directed at officers by residents of a north Baton Rouge apartment complex has provoked calls for calm from Baton Rouge officials, including Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome and state Rep. C. Denise Marcelle, who was on the scene.
District Attorney Hillar Moore III said at the scene that investigators have already reviewed the body camera footage from the officer. He said he wanted to dispel rumors that the dead man, identified by State Police as Calvin Toney, was handcuffed at the time of the shooting. The struggle lasted "many minutes" and involved a stun gun, Moore said.
"I am sure that the LSP will demonstrate the highest level of transparency throughout this investigation," Broome promised. "I ask that the community withhold judgment on this incident until the LSP concludes its work."
She added at an interview at the scene that the city-parish's investment in police body cameras will pay off in added transparency. She also said she is confident State Police will demonstrate "the utmost sensitivity in this investigation."
Officials have not identified the officer involved in the shooting. The officer is on paid administrative leave, as is standard procedure in officer-involved shootings.
Calvin Toney, 24, died of "a single gunshot wound to the chest with a trajectory of front to back, left to right,” the East Baton Rouge Parish coroner said.
South Louisiana is still recovering from the painful summer of 2016, when an armed black man, Alton Sterling, died during a struggle with police, heightening racial tensions here and across the country. In the wake of the shooting, a disturbed gunman from Missouri bent on revenge shot six Baton Rouge law enforcement officers, killing three of them: Matthew Gerald, Brad Garafola and Montrell Jackson. One of the injured law enforcement officers, Nick Tullier, is still struggling to recover in a Texas rehabilitation facility.
The best way to honor last year's losses is to let the State Police do their job and find out what happened Monday night on McClelland Drive in Baton Rouge.