The Richardson family is displeased with the Attorney General Office’s decision declining to charge the officer that killed our loved one. We feel that the justice system has failed us. The case should have been heard by the Grand Jury and not by a person who is biased and refuses to hold an official accountable for their actions. They made their decision based on the individual’s background and what was in the toxicology. If you are going to do that, let’s be transparent with the officer’s background as well as the toxicology being done. We were treated poorly by individual’s that the community elected into these positions in which they failed to do their job. From the beginning of the investigation, there was no transparency at all.
The community deserves to have individuals that are going to hold police officers accountable for their actions and not let them break the law as if they are above the law. The West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office needs to review its policies and procedures and make some serious changes. While WBR sits and watches, the world is constantly evolving, and so is the way the public views and holds the police force accountable. All around the world, officials are talking about police reform except for the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Department. WBR can start by mandating body cameras, abolishing No-Knock Warrants and establishing a Community Oversight Board to make sure that the elected officials are holding individuals accountable. The Oversight Board should be a panel of appointed persons to also include a criminal lawyer. Louisiana Legislation should consider requiring police officers to have personal liability insurance, an effort to deter police misconduct. To make officers physically responsible for their misconduct. Police Officers’ personal weapons should be held to the same policy guidelines as a service department-issued weapon if his/her personal weapon is being used while on duty.
My family would like the WBR Parish President, Sheriff, Port Allen Mayor, and the District Attorney office held accountable for their lack of action in our loved ones case. Why didn’t these individuals fight for justice as if it were one of their loved ones or brothers in blue? Why did the DA office take themselves off the case after viewing all the evidence? Why did the WBR Parish President never speak up or demanded transparency from the police department? Why is WBR turning a blind eye to all the corruption in the WBR sheriff department; it is all documented.
According to the investigation, when the Acadian Ambulance arrived on the scene, they assumed Josef to be alive and picked his body up and placed it on the gurney. When they realized he was deceased, they placed him back down on the ground in a different position. Why? That is totally unprofessional; it shows a lack of training and may have contaminated the crime scene if this really happened. Why hasn’t all the evidence been turned over to our attorneys? The Task Force said they did not know him in the No Knock Warrant, but they stated in both investigations there were several encounters with him.
Why did the Internal Affairs Investigation report have the wrong suspect’s picture and personal information for Josef Richardson? Why wasn’t one of the officers interviewed for the IAI report? Why wasn’t Ms. Cloutre’s attorney contacted for her to be interviewed? Why in the State Police report did it state “Deputy Matranga discharged his service pistol,” and the internal investigation states it was his personal weapon?
Let us talk about some of the many encounters with the West Baton Task Force and Josef Richardson, the deceased victim. The Task Force pulled Josef over and strip-searched Jessica and a male inside a restroom at New Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Port Allen. In another encounter with the Task Force Richardson was pulled over and taken to jail with another individual. A female Detective on duty walked up to his girlfriend and stated to another officer “oh she a ride or die one, she not telling nothing” and pulled her shirt up, exposing her breast to find no drugs in front of male officers. The Task Force pulled over a vehicle Josef and Jessica were passengers in the vehicle. Marijuana residue was found in the vehicle. The driver of the vehicle was issued a citation. In that incident, the Task Force tried to coerce the other two individuals that what they found is for Mr. Richardson. The day before he was killed. The Task Force pulled Josef and a male over in Lobdell, Louisiana. They assaulted Josef and the male before releasing them with no citation, the day before he was killed. There are multiple examples where the Task Force harassed Josef and Jessica. Jessica spoke to Sheriff Cazes and Mayor Lee after the church incident and neither were helpful.
Under this sheriff, a WBR deputy who had five women to claim sexual allegations against him, was able to remain on the force and was able to resign with a slap on the wrist (2-years of probation with 5-year prison sentence suspended by a judge). One of the victims is the sister of the witness in the Josef case. Another officer was able to be a deputy with a suspended driver’s license with an active bench warrant who hit and killed an individual. The sheriff fired a deputy that lost his service weapon and used another unauthorized weapon but refused to fire others. The officers in the Josef Richardson case are back in the news again for an incident that happened on July 19, 2020 where the Task Force and the shooter in the Josef Richardson case assaulted a mother for videoing the mishandling of her son by the Task Force. The statement the WBRSO put out about that incident seems to tell the same story but with different individuals.
The sheriff and his family members are the problems because they are in every section of the police department, including the state police where his daughter works in forensics, and a relative in the AG office. Therefore, the case should have never been in their hands. Everyone asks how Mike Cazes is succeeding, look into his family involvement or influence in all sectors of the police department. Mike Cazes never wanted to speak with the family until the media broadcasted the lack of transparency from the sheriff department. All our family would like is justice. We know that getting justice will not bring Josef back, but it can prevent another shooting like this one. The DA office said, “give the justice system time to work itself out”.
Well, we tried that and look at what happened to our case. We are not anti-police; we are pro-police. It is just a couple of bad apples in the bunch that needs to be trashed.
The Richardson Family