By Andrew Emett
After viewing officers gunning down a 6-year-old autistic boy in a police body cam video during court on Wednesday, a state judge released a heavily edited copy of the footage to the public. Although the officers claim that the boy’s father had used his vehicle as a deadly weapon against them, the video clearly shows the father with his hands up and his SUV parked during the fatal shooting.
Around 9:30 p.m. on November 3, 2015, Marksville police began pursuing Christopher Few’s SUV after he had driven off during an argument with his fiancée, who was in a separate vehicle. According to police, the officers decided to conduct a traffic stop because Few had an outstanding warrant. But the Clerk of Court, the District Attorney’s Office, Marksville Police Department, and City Court did not have any warrants against him.
Prior to the shooting, Marksville Police Officer Norris Greenhouse Jr. reported that Few had rammed his SUV into the officer’s patrol car. But State Police detective Rodney Owens testified that no physical evidence exists suggesting Few’s vehicle had collided with Greenhouse’s patrol car.
In the newly released body cam video recorded by Marksville Police Sergeant Kenneth Parnell III, three police cruisers briefly pursue Few’s SUV for several seconds before he parks his vehicle and can be seen holding his empty hands in the air. On Wednesday, Sgt. Parnell told the court that even though he approached the driver’s window with his gun drawn, he did not pull the trigger because the police sergeant did not fear for his life.
Warning: disturbing content
“That car was not being used as a deadly weapon at that time,” District Court Judge William Bennett declared after viewing the body cam footage. “I daresay it was not even close to being used as a deadly weapon at that time.”
Due to the fact that the audio was turned off for nearly 30 seconds, the first gunshots cannot be heard. Police Lt. Derrick Stafford and Officer Greenhouse callously fired 18 shots into the vehicle, placing Few in critical condition and killing his 6-year-old autistic son.
Diagnosed with autism at the age of two, Jeremy Mardis had been sitting in the front passenger seat wearing his seatbelt next to his father. According to State Police detective Owens, three of the bullet fragments recovered from Mardis’ body came from Stafford’s gun while a fourth fragment remained inconclusive.
At the end of the newly released footage, Sgt. Parnell reported shots fired over the radio without ever firing his own weapon. On Wednesday, the court was allowed to watch the remaining 14 minutes depicting Few and his innocent son’s gruesome bullet wounds.
“I never saw a kid in the car, man,” Stafford reportedly said in the unedited version. “I never saw a kid, bro.”
Roughly seven minutes after the shooting, Parnell checked Mardis’ body for a pulse before muttering, “Oh, my God.”
Charged with second-degree murder and second-degree attempted murder, Greenhouse and Stafford await separate trials for shooting a man with his hands in the air and murdering his autistic son. Stafford’s trial is scheduled for November 28, while Greenhouse is expected to begin trial in March.
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