SHREVEPORT, LA (CNN) — A family is demanding justice and answers in the death of a man who was in Shreveport police custody. That’s after hearing about witnesses describing a different story than they got from police in the death of Tommie McGlothen Jr., 44.
“We think there’s been a cover-up,” said the man’s sister, Macronia McGlothen of Dallas.
It happened in front of a home on Eileen Lane in the Lakeside area on the evening of Sunday, April 5. Two witnesses on that street who declined to be recorded describe seeing officers beat a handcuffed man and slam him into a police vehicle .Another witness, who didn’t see as much, described what he saw of the officers.
“The first two, or three to four, they were handling him pretty, pretty rough,” the man said, declining to be identified.
Asked to elaborate, the man said, “Like as far as the way they had his hands behind his back and the way they was just carrying him.”
Asked if McGlothen was resisting or struggling with officers, the man replied, “No, not that I could see. Not that I saw. They had him.”
A source inside the police department tells KTBS 3 News that McGlothen was put in the back of a police car. When officers went back to check on him, it appeared he was dead.
One witness said McGlothen was caught trying to break into a car and was confronted by the woman who owned it. Her husband then came out punched McGlothen before police arrived.
Two sisters of McGlothen said then police notified them of his death They said he was found slumped over with some bruises, but no serious injuries. He was taken to a hospital where he died.
But the family saw something different as they prepared McGlothen for burial.
“When we got to the funeral it looked liked he had been beaten. His nose was broken. His jaw was broken. And his eye was swollen. It looked like he had a fractured skull,” Macronia McGlothen said. “So something’s not adding up.”
She said they feared her brother had been in a violent struggle.
“We want justice,” McGlothen said.
One witness said the property owner who initially confronted Tommie McGlothen about the car break-in punched him before police arrived. Ms. McGlothen said police tried to say others were responsible for his “bruising.”
A spokeswoman for Shreveport Police Department said they won’t comment or release any police video, since the case is still under investigation.
The coroner’s office has not released details on their investigation into how McGlothen died. Their report is likely part of the case file that’s now with the Caddo Parish District Attorney’s office.
A spokesman for D.A. James Stewart said their office just received the case and is reviewing it.