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New Orleans, La. -
It's been one week since former NOPD Officer Josh Colclough apologized to the family of Wendell Allen, the man he killed during a drug raid. The Orleans Parish district attorney calls that meeting, captured exclusively by FOX 8 cameras, extremely rare.
DA Leon Cannizzaro says there seems to be a movement toward this type of social justice.
"We did not know about it as it was occurring. We didn't know until after it had taken place," said Cannizzaro.
He says he may have discouraged the meeting had he known. "Normally speaking I'd advise the family of the victim to stay away from the accused," he said. "And to say there was an apology and a meeting between accused family members of the deceased, it's very unusual under these circumstances. I've never seen it before."
He says this is the first time he can recall when an officer went in and entered a plea of guilty in a shooting in the line of duty.
Colclough's attorney says he insisted on the meeting. Cannizzaro says he saw the emotional outpouring from both sides on tape.
"I saw how they joined hands, prayed, and there wasn't a dry eye in the room. I think that helped her a lot. She did mention that to us."
He explains what Natasha Allen did next: "She went to court the next day and she asked the judge to impose a sentence of four years rather than five."
He says the televised meeting was rare but could start a dialogue: "That's how you break ground in new areas. There is certainly a movement on the part of people who look at what they call social justice, trying to bring people together."
The DA says he hopes it's something to build on, but he said, "I have to look at it from a realistic perspective. The overwhelming majority of these types of case, you don't see the family members wanting to have anything to do with the defendant or any part of his family."
Cannizzaro calls the Colclough situation a perfect mix. But if the situation happens again, he'd like to be a part of it.
"In the event the plea negotiations break down, we're going to have to try the case," he said. "Anything that happens outside the courtroom could possibly affect our ability to gain a conviction in court."
Tuesday, September 2 2014 10:07 AM EDT2014-09-02 14:07:52 GMT
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