Records: $325K deal paid in handcuffed man’s shooting death

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A Louisiana sheriff’s office in 2018 paid a $325,000 settlement after the fatal shooting of a black man who had been handcuffed in the back seat of a patrol car, according to newly released records.

Copies of the check from the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office in the settlement case of Victor White III were released this week after a federal court ruled in March that the payment had to be made public, The Advocate reported.

White’s family filed a lawsuit against Sheriff Louis Ackal and a deputy. The settlement was resolved in 2018 but the federal judge declined to make the settlement amount public and the mother of White’s child agreed with the judge.

A $133,000 annuity presumably went to White’s child, the newspaper reported. The remaining $192,000 was paid to the attorney.

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In 2014, White, 22, was shot in the right side of his chest while handcuffed from behind in the back of a patrol car. A parish coroner ruled White’s death a suicide.

The Justice Department announced in 2015 that no federal charges would be filed in White’s death.

However, White’s unusual death put the sheriff’s office and then Sheriff Louis Ackal in the spotlight.

A woman who worked for Ackal said she heard the sheriff give coded instructions for writing reports to justify beatings of detainees. She also said Ackal referred to black people as “gorillas” and another racial slur, the lawyers said.

A federal civil right probe resulted in guilty pleas by 11 deputies, several of whom furnished sworn accounts of sordid police abuse, often racially motivated, on the streets of New Iberia and inside the parish jail, the newspaper reported.

Deputies said Ackal orchestrated the racially motivated attacks but he was acquitted in 2016.

The $325,000 settlement was among the bigger payouts from lawsuits during Ackal’s tenure, which totaled more than $6 million.

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