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Maybe instead of gun control we need cop control...


In our story last week on the fatal police shooting of six-year-old Jeremy Mardis in Marksville, Louisiana, we briefly mentioned a line from a CBS News story: "Investigators are looking into whether one of the marshals had a personal grudge against" the boy's father, Chris Few. The two deputy marshals fired 18 shots into Few's SUV, five of them hitting Jeremy, who sat in the front seat next to his father. Police body cam video showed Few had his hands up as he was shot.

As it turns out, "a personal grudge" doesn't begin to describe it. The marshals who killed Jeremy and critically injured his father also allegedly terrorized townspeople in Marksville, and appear to have gotten their jobs in the first place thanks to a feud between the town's mayor and presiding judge. If it weren't so horribly real, it might make a good plot line for True Detective.

According to the Guardian's Matthew Teague, the two officers, Norris Greenhouse Jr. and Derrick Stafford, subjected Marksville residents to a steady diet of bullying and everyday assholishness. Teague notes that the town was shocked by the Nov. 3 shooting of Jeremy Mardis, but not all that surprised that Stafford and Greenhouse were involved:

“He pushed people around, man. He was dangerous,” resident Willie Barton said, summing up Greenhouse’s standing.

One woman told Teague about the time she'd been on the receiving end of Greenhouse's Protecting And Serving:

She said that a few years ago while picking up her child at the local school she had a crossed a line -- a literal line in the sidewalk that Greenhouse had pointed to -- and while a queue of other parents watched he had slammed her against the school’s exterior wall and arrested her. All charges were dismissed.

“He’s someone who feels like, because he has that badge, he can do anything he wants to the people of the community,” White said.

While Stafford and Greenhouse both have police jobs in nearby towns, in Marksville, they're only part-time deputy marshals, a job that normally involves serving warrants and other court papers. So why did they have patrol cars and guns?

For years in Marksville, the marshal has been a local bus driver, Floyd Voinche Sr., who carried out his duties with one full-time employee and one part-timer ... But sometime in the past two months, that changed.

Mayor John Lemoine told reporters that Voinche’s office bought two used police cruisers, hired several part-time deputies and started patrolling the streets and issuing tickets like regular city police.

Voinche expanded his marshal force with the blessings of city Judge Angelo Piazza III, who doesn't get along with Mayor Lemoine at all. Lemoine cut the budget for the city court system, and also cut Piazza's salary. The new deputy marshals have been very busy writing tickets and fining people to make up for that lost revenue, which is how Marksville ended up with a couple of violent shitheads serving as part-time marshals who felt entitled to push people around.

Even before taking the part-time marshal jobs in Marksville, Greenhouse and Stafford both piled up an impressive number of lawsuits against them for excessive force; WaPo notes that Stafford has "at least five lawsuits...currently pending against him." Greenhouse has his own collection of civil complaints, too. But of course it gets worse:

Stafford has been charged twice with aggravated rape in nearby Rapides Parish. According to the indictment, one 15-year-old victim said Stafford committed rape on the victim’s birthday in 2004. In a separate incident, a second victim said Stafford committed rape in 2011.

In 2012, the charges were inexplicably dropped. In court documents, the attorney listed as representing Stafford is Piazza, the same judge he now works under as a marshal deputy.

Small world, ain't it? In a marvel of understatement, an unidentified "law enforcement chief in a neighboring jurisdiction" said of Stafford, “This is a guy I think a lot of us would have trouble hiring.” You'd think.

In case things weren't tangled enough already, the father of Norris Greenhouse, the other rogue marshal, works in the local district attorney's office, so the DA has recused himself from the case.

Remember the investigation into whether one of the officers had a "personal grudge" against Chris Few? There is indeed something to that: Few's fiancée, Megan Dixon, confirmed to a local paper that Norris Greenhouse had been trying to start a relationship with her:

“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.

So, yes, there's a lot going on beneath the surface of that sleepy little Louisiana town. At least Bristol Palin can take some comfort from the fact that the story is finally getting national attention, even though the victim wasn't black.

The Washington Post does note that Jeremy Mardis "was the youngest person shot and killed by law officers so far this year," according to its running tally of law enforcement killings. So hey, there's a record to remember.

[WaPo / Guardian]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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