Jeremy Mardis’ Murder Turns Into A Louisiana Scandal
Nov. 13, 2015 (Mimesis Law) — Jeremy Mardis was laid to rest Monday, the tragic result of eighteen rounds being fired into a car driven by his father, Chris Few, in an alleged attempt to avoid service of a warrant. The death of a six year old boy is disturbing enough, but what’s made the situation even more horrifying is that none of the allegations made by Officers Derrick Stafford and Norris Greenhouse, Jr. “justifying” this shooting seem remotely connected to reality.
There appear to have been no outstanding warrants for Few. No gun was found in his truck. Officials said while two of the officers had claimed Few reversed his SUV and tried to ram them, that wasn’t actually true. When officials reviewed body-cam footage of the incident, they found Few actually had his arms in the air when the officers unloaded the barrage on the car. (Few survived the shooting that killed his son.)
Two other officers implicated but not charged in Jeremy Mardis’s death continue to maintain the “code of silence” that manifests whenever one who wears a shield actually faces criminal charges for their actions. This action dumbfounds the superintendent of Stafford and Greenhouse, who wants to get to the bottom of Mardis’s murder.
Key details of the deadly episode remained a mystery even to the investigators early Friday, as two of the four agents in the event refused to speak to authorities 72 hours after the killing, prompting a rare public expression of misgivings toward officers by a law enforcement counterpart.
“It’s more concerning the longer it takes (for them) to talk to us,” said [State Police Superintendent Colonel Mike] Edmonson earlier Friday. “All we want to know is what happened.”
It may be hard to find out what happened on the night Jeremy Mardis died, but it’s not hard to figure out that Stafford and Greenhouse should have lost their jobs long before November third.
A woman sued Stafford in 2012 over allegations that he shocked her with a stun gun while she was handcuffed. Another lawsuit accused Stafford of breaking a girl’s arm while intervening in a fight on a school bus in 2012.
Stafford and Greenhouse also are defendants in a lawsuit filed by a man who claims officers used excessive force in arresting him at a 2014 festival. Another suit claims Greenhouse and Stafford “stood idly by and did nothing” when another officer assaulted a teenage boy at a Fourth of July celebration in 2013.
And last year, an Avoyelles Parish jury awarded $50,000 to a man who claimed Stafford arrested him in retaliation for making a complaint about him.
This list doesn’t exhaust the suits Stafford and Greenhouse, Jr. are currently facing. There’s also two rape charges levied against Stafford, one involving a fifteen year old. Both were dismissed for reasons the Associated Press deems “unclear.” When you take a look at the situation with a realist’s eyes, it’s pretty easy to make an inference as to why Stafford walked.
Avoyelles Parish District Attorney Charles Riddle recused himself from the case Monday because one of his assistant prosecutors is Greenhouse’s father.
You read that correctly. Officer Greenhouse’s father is Norris Greenhouse, Sr, one of Ayoyelles Parrish’s assistant prosecutors. By virtue of the relationship between Stafford and Greenhouse, it’s not hard to make a distinction where those in the District Attorney’s office might have simply let any incidents involving Stafford and Greenhouse the Younger slide.
Ayoyelles Parrish shelling out fifty large for Stafford’s conduct alone should constitute enough of a liability for him to be fired. The combined amount of suits against Stafford and Greenhouse should have made the two worthy of censure, suspension, or worse. Yet both Stafford and Greenhouse got the chance to continue doing their jobs and breaking the law with the full authority of Louisiana. And now a six year old lies in a coffin beneath silent clods of earth for that oversight.
No motive for the murder of Jeremy Mardis and the attempted murder of Chris Few has been discovered, but Megan Dixon, Few’s girlfriend, seems to have a good idea as to why her boyfriend is severely maimed and Mardis dead.
Megan Dixon, Few’s girlfriend, said they had been at a bar the night of the shooting. Both left separately after getting into an argument. Dixon said the chase began shortly after Few approached her while stopped at an intersection.
Dixon also said Few and Greenhouse recently had a confrontation. Greenhouse, a former high school classmate of Dixon’s, had sent her several messages on Facebook and showed up at the home Dixon and Few shared.
“I told Chris and Chris confronted him about it and told him next time you come to my house I’m going to hurt you,” Dixon said.
Was the November third death of Jeremy Mardis the result love gone sour? A jilted man who felt a need to retaliate with lethal force? Nothing is clear at this point and may not be until the matter is resolved by authorities. What is clear, however is that Jeremy Mardis died at the hands of two men who were completely unfit to wear a badge. Andrew Fleischman sums up the issue behind Jeremy Mardis’s death quite well.
The badge that officers wear is shaped like a shield. It is supposed to be a symbol for the way that police shield the citizens of this country from fear, from loss, and from harm. Yet in an age where virtually every shoot is justified, it has become instead an aegis against personal responsibility, transparency, and change. Officers may bear the shield, but it is the public that carries its weight.
And in case he’s wondering: yes, Colonel Edmonson, the actions of two officers who should have been thrown off the force a long time ago have tarnished that badge in Louisiana.