Residents have questions in light of the parish’s first homicide of 2019, but the Port Allen Police Department is not providing answers. Members of the Justice for Fatrell Organization asked the Port Allen Public Safety Committee and Police Chief Esdron Brown how to help during the Feb. 6 meeting.
Dedrick Jackson 19, was killed in a drive-by shooting on Avenue A around 3:00 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29. No information regarding a potential suspect, vehicle nor weapon has been released by authorities since.
“Today, we’re looking to get on course with you, Chief Brown, we’re trying to figure out what it is you expect of us,” Clerice Lacy, a founding member of the Fatrell Organization said. The Fatrell Organization formed in response to the 2017 murder of 28-year-old Port Allen native Fatrell Queen, which remains unsolved.
There has been a lot of resistance from the community in both cases when it comes to reporting information, Brown said. The close-knit community and a fear of retaliation drive the withholding of information, he continued. When a neighbor provides an eye-witness account but refuses to testify in court, there is little that can be done with the tip, he explained.
“Murmurs from within the community do not amount to evidence to present in court,” Brown said.
Lacy and Kevin Lawrence, both members of the Fatrell Organization, said the community is reluctant to report tips to authorities because they have lost trust in police due to information leaking. Chief Brown insists there is no leak from n the department, but the problem lies with the public spreading misinformation.
Keeping information from the public is part of the investigation process, Brown said. Releasing information could give the perpetrator the opportunity to run, hide or craft an alibi, he continued.
“I’m not going to tell you everything I’ve got on a murder case, that’s just not foreseeable,” Brown said. “They just need to trust that we’re doing all that we can.”
Eyewitness reports are among the most useful information in solving crimes like a drive-by shooting where little or no DNA is present, Brown said. Lawrence suggested an ordinance to create a “big brother program,” bicycle patrols or security cameras throughout the city.
“We have to do something unusual here, what we’re doing is not working,” Lawrence said. “We have a complete system of murder these people are using…they can plan it, they can execute it, and they can get away with it.”