By Amy Berberyan
SHREVEPORT, LA – A family here has filed a lawsuit in a case after Alonzo Bagley, who was unarmed, was shot and killed earlier this month by Shreveport Police Officer Alexander Tyler, who was arrested last Thursday.
“The lethal force used against Mr. Bagley was unjustified, unreasonable, excessive, and in violation of Mr. Bagley’s rights under the United States Constitution and the laws of the State of Louisiana,” the lawsuit said, which was filed by Bagley’s wife, mother and stepdaughter.
Officer Tyler, 23, who is white, shot Bagley, who is Black, after responding to a domestic violence report at Bagley’s apartment complex. His body camera caught the full incident, according to the New York Times.
The NY Times report said Bagley’s wife, Tangela, had called 911 and told the dispatcher that her husband was threatening her and her daughter. Two police officers arrived around 11 p.m. Bagley opened his second-floor apartment door with a liquor bottle in his hand and told officers he needed to put his dog away before letting them in.
The officers followed him inside, with one claiming that Tangela could put the dog away. Bagley entered his bedroom and shut the door behind him. When the officers entered the room, Bagley jumped off the balcony and ran.
The NY Times story related a chase ensued. Tyler, who had drawn his gun during the chase, shot Bagley in the chest. This occurred around one minute and 25 seconds after the initial knock on the Bagley door.
Tyler can be heard saying, “No, no, no, no man. Come on dude, stay with me. Stay with me man,” as his partner attempts CPR on Bagley.
Officer Tyler turned himself in and was charged with negligent homicide after a review of his body cam footage. If convicted, he could face up to five years in prison. He’s out on bail of $25,000.
“There was no need for my brother to lose his life,” said Xavier Sudds, Bagley’s brother. “My family is hurting. We’re hurting as people. A call to justice is what’s needed now.
“I’m not satisfied until they give a verdict,” Sudds said. “I want Alonzo’s death to mean something at the end of the day. I know it will happen.” Sudds stated that the family had yet to hear from the Shreveport mayor, Tom Arceneaux, and that it was too late for an apology.
Mayor Arceneaux later apologized for not reaching out to the family at an earlier date and stated Tyler’s body cam footage had been “hard to watch” and that he was “sure it was excruciating for the family.”
Bagley’s family filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Tyler.
Officer Tyler’s attorney, Dhu Thompson, stated, “Officers are always faced on a day-to-day basis with dangerous situations like that, and at times where they have to make split-second decisions when they’re in a life-threatening situation.”
Attorney Thompson said that the investigator and court’s claims that Bagley was unarmed do “not necessarily mean that he was not a threat to the police officers.” He stated that he was confident he would be able to exonerate Tyler of his charges by showing the incident was unfortunate but necessary.
Ronald Haley, an attorney working for the Bagley family, stated that the training of the police officers was a clear issue because it “does not take away the fear of Black and brown men.”
On the subject of Bagley running away, he added that “a flight does not mean judge, jury, and executioner, and that’s what happened. It’s an incident we see far too often in this state, an incident we see far too often in this country.”
Attorney Haley called for the release of Tyler’s disciplinary history along with Tyler’s termination.
He also called attention to the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, a bill in Congress meant to target racial bias and the use of excessive force by police officers. The bill passed in the House of Representatives, but stalled in the Senate.