NOPD shootout at CVS justified but avoidable, expert says

Updated: Jun. 25, 2019 at 9:43 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Just over a week after a potentially deadly shootout between police and two armed robbery suspects, the NOPD released four different angles from body camera video and surveillance footage of the entire incident.

Criminologist Peter Scharf said while neither suspects, officers, nor bystanders died in the shooting, it’s not the outcome police want.

“I think, no doubt was it a justifiable shooting, the difficult thing was is it avoidable," Scharf said. “The optimal tactics, whether you can deploy or not, is how do you cordon the scene off, keep it contained and how do you avoid those shootings?”

He said the video clearly demonstrates officers’ bravery, but the NOPD should now utilize the video as a training tool.

“Don’t pat yourself on the back yet," Scharf advised. “We avoided grand juries, we avoided a death, but look at this and learn what are the optimum tactics we’ll deploy later on.”

Tonya McClary -- the chief monitor with the Independent Police Monitor -- said it is too early to say if the shootout could have been avoided.

“I think it is," she said. “One of the things we’ve been concerned about is the number of [officer involved] shootings that already happened in 2019.”

McClary said it’ll take months to finalize both their and the NOPD’s findings from the investigation, but said they’re continuing conversations about how to reduce shootings like these.

When faced with a deadly situation, Chief Shaun Ferguson maintains his officers did the right thing.

“They knew the individuals were armed, and they made the proper approach, and things erupted in a split second,” Ferguson said.

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