Mardis family files federal lawsuit
A 96-page federal lawsuit was filed on Thursday by relatives of 6-year-old Jeremy Mardis and his father, Christopher Few. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Alexandria against two Marksville deputy city marshals who are charged with shooting into Few's vehicle after it was stopped at a dead end street in Marksville during a traffic stop on Nov. 3, 2015. The boy was killed and Few was severely wounded.
The suit claims Marksville city officials failed to properly train the deputies on the use of deadly force before the shooting. It also claims the officers involved in the shooting did nothing to stop the boy's bleeding or alleviate his suffering, even after one of them found a pulse on the child.
Deputy Marshals Derrick Stafford and Norris Greenhouse Jr. await separate trials on charges of second-degree murder of Jeremy Mardis and attempted second-degree murder of Few.
City Marshal Floyd Voinche Sr., Marksville City Court, City of Marksville, Progressive Paloverde Insurance, Parish of Avoyelles, Deputy City Marshall Jason Brouillette, and Marksville police officer Kenneth Parnell III are also named as defendants in the lawsuit. The suit seeks unspecified damages.
The shooting was captured on video by Parnell's body camera. Attorneys defending Stafford and Greenhouse in the criminal cases maintain they acted in self-defense. Prosecutors contend the video shows the deputies firing on Few's car from a safe distance.
The deputies' lawyers claim Few drove recklessly while leading officers on a 2-mile chase and then rammed into Greenhouse's vehicle as he was getting out of it, before he and Stafford opened fire.
The family's lawsuit calls the shooting a "barbaric and excessive use of deadly force" that fit a pattern of behavior unpunished by city officials who supervised the two deputies.
"Proper use of deadly force training would have enabled Stafford and Greenhouse to recognize that neither Christopher nor Jeremy presented an imminent risk of death or great bodily harm to anyone at or near the scene," the suit says.
Stafford's murder trial is scheduled to start Nov. 28. Greenhouse will go to trial on March 13, 2017.
Investigators matched 14 shell casings to Stafford's semi-automatic handgun and determined four other shell casings recovered at the scene came from Greenhouse's weapon. Of the four bullet fragments recovered from the boy's body, three matched Stafford's weapon and the other could not be matched to either officer's pistol.