Grand jury clears deputy in Kentwood fatal shooting

A Tangipahoa Parish grand jury has chosen not to indict a Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s deputy in a Kentwood shooting death, District Attorney Scott Perrilloux said Friday.

Deputy William Phebus shot and killed Cjavar “Dee Jay” Galmon, 18, of Kentwood, during an early morning incident in a parking lot outside a bar in the village of Tangipahoa, authorities said.

The shooting occurred as Phebus and other deputies struggled to arrest Marquis Martin, 22, on a count of carrying a concealed weapon. Before deputies had Martin under control, Galmon approached them from between two parked cars, the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office reported.

“Deputies were trying to subdue someone in a very chaotic situation,” Perrilloux said. “The victim appeared and the deputy fired his weapon.”

It happened in a “split second,” Perrilloux said of the August incident.

“We wanted to let the grand jury hear all of the evidence and make a decision,” Perrilloux said.

At least 10 people, including eyewitnesses, testified. Witnesses also included officials from State Police, which investigated the case, the district attorney said.

The grand jury returned a no true bill on any charge, Perrilloux said.

Deputies said that on the night of the incident, they went to the scene after a report of gunshots at a nearby convenience store and were dispersing a crowd of about 250 people when they learned that Martin had a gun.

The scuffle and shooting occurred after deputies tried to question Martin, the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office reported.

A lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court states that Galmon, who was unarmed, was shot while he approached deputies to tell them they were arresting the wrong person.

The suit filed by Galmon’s relatives says use of deadly force wasn’t necessary.

Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards said late Friday that the suit is still in litigation. Edwards said he transferred Phebus to the radio room pending the outcome of the case, adding that he hasn’t made a decision on whether to move the deputy.