ACLU decries Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s mistreatment of Black residents, calls for investigation

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Zachary Schultz , Breaking News Editor

In a written statement, Alanah Odoms, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, decried the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office’s excessive and disproportionate use of force against residents of color after the findings of a year-long investigation into that department were published. 

Odoms cast the sheriff’s office in terms of “a deep-rooted history of racial discrimination and cruelty toward residents of color,” noting that cases in which the victim of police-caused deaths is Black occurs at a rate 11 times that of white people in Jefferson Parish, despite Black residents making up just 26% of the parish’s population. 

In addition to calling on the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana to review the published report, the letter asks residents to voice their concern and demand reform from the tax-funded, well-financed department. 

Odoms pointed to the lack of leadership from the director of JPSO, Sheriff Joe Lopinto, citing his failure to launch investigations into excessive-use-of-force cases, as well as the department’s refusal to institute measures — namely, body and dashboard cameras that have been adopted by other law enforcement agencies across Louisiana — to hold sheriff deputies more accountable in the wake of lethal encounters with civilians.