LAFAYETTE — The results of a State Police investigation into the Dec. 2 death of a girl killed by a Breaux Bridge police officer were turned over to the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office on Thursday.
Trooper Stephen Hammons said State Police met with prosecutors in Baton Rouge to hand over their report on the circumstances surrounding the death of Darneisha Harris, 16. She was shot just days before her 17th birthday while in her 2005 Toyota Corolla.
Jeff Traylor, a prosecutor with the Attorney General’s Office, confirmed that he was reviewing the report but declined further comment.
A spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s Office, Amanda Larkins, said in an email that prosecutors “will begin reviewing the report to determine the appropriate course of action.” She said it was too early to say whether prosecutors would present the case to a grand jury.
Harris was shot after she drove into a police car that had responded to reports of a disturbance, then hit a person before driving into two parked vehicles, State Police have said.
At a memorial service Dec. 10, Harris’ family said the teen probably panicked as she tried to get away from a fight that had broken out. They said Harris might have been the victim of excessive police force.
Efforts on Thursday to contact members of Harris’ family were unsuccessful.
Authorities have not identified the police officer involved. Breaux Bridge Mayor Jack Dale Delhomme said after the incident that the officer was taken off patrol duty.
Breaux Bridge police requested that State Police handle the investigation, which Hammons said is routine in police-involved shootings.
Hammons said investigators started looking into Harris’ death immediately after the shooting. He said there is no time limit on placed on the investigations, which in the Harris case took five months to give to prosecutors.
“Each case is unique and presents its own set of circumstances,” Hammons said.
St. Martin Parish prosecutor Chester Cedars said the District Attorney’s Office recused itself following the shooting.
“We didn’t want to do something in the case so it would be an independent analysis of whatever the State Police investigation disclosed,” Cedars said.
Copyright © 2014, Capital City Press LLC • 7290 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70810 • All Rights Reserved