CLINTON, LA (WAFB) - A deputy with the East Feliciana Parish Sheriff’s Office who was recently involved in a traffic stop in which a man was killed is now back on duty, according to officials at the sheriff’s office.
Less than three weeks after Myron Flowers was shot and killed during that stop along LA 10 in Clinton near Jackson Street, Deputy Cullen Wilson has already completed three full days back on the job.
Flowers was killed in the shooting on Friday, April 12. In a press conference after the incident, Sheriff Jeff Travis said Flowers was a backseat passenger in the vehicle and Deputy Wilson, who made the stop, noticed Flowers had a gun and tried to “secure it,” according to Travis.
Clinton Police Officer Richard Boudoin also responded to the scene.
Travis said a witness told investigators there was an exchange of gunfire, but a review of the forensic evidence has not yet been able to support or disprove that account.
“He has returned to duty, but I wouldn’t be able to comment any further on what his assignment is,” said Greg Phares, chief deputy with EFPSO. The sheriff’s office has already cleared Wilson to return at the same time they are still reviewing the forensic evidence in their joint investigation with Louisiana State Police.
WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked officials if there was a certain reason as to why Wilson was allowed to return so soon.
"No particular reason,” said Phares. “We just felt it was appropriate to bring him back."
Dedrick Moore, one of the attorneys representing Flowers’ family, calls the decision a slap in the face for the community, the family, and the investigation.
“It’s completely premature,” he added.
There is still a lot that remains unclear about the case, like which officer fired the fatal shots or whether Flowers actually used either of the two guns investigators told the media he had on him at the time of the stop. Ron Haley, the other attorney who represents the family, finds the decision troubling.
“It’s irresponsible,” said Haley. “It taints potential jurors that are out there and it taints public opinion.”
“We continue to ask the question ‘why?’” Moore added. “Why is there this rush to allow this individual to go back?” As the calls for transparency and accountability grow, the family’s legal team believes the decision does very little to calm an already fragile situation. Officials with the sheriff’s office though, maintain the deputy did follow the law.
WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked what led officials to make a determination at this point in the investigation.
"The evidence that we have in our possession," Phares answered.
With no body camera or dash cam footage, the only video of the encounter is from a business near where the scene unfolded. Investigators have already said the quality of the video though, is not good. It’s just one more reason the Flowers’ family attorneys argue there’s just not enough to justify having Deputy Wilson back on duty.
“How can anyone rationally come to the conclusion at this point that this thing is open and shut?” Haley questioned.
“I think what you want to know is you want to have a reasonable conclusion that the officer acted legally and we believe that he did act legally,” Phares added.
Officials with the EFPSO say Deputy Wilson was placed on leave shortly after the shooting on April 12.
The Clinton Police Department confirms officer Richard Boudoin is still on administrative leave. There is still no timeline on when the investigation is expected to be complete.