VIDEO: Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto responds to recent officer-involved shootings

Updated: Jun. 23, 2020 at 1:29 PM CDT
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GRETNA, La. (WVUE) - The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office held a news conference on Tuesday to address the two separate shootings of Modesto Reyes and a 14-year-old boy.

Attorneys for both parties have been calling for JPSO body cameras. This is the first time Sheriff Joseph Lopinto responded to the demands.

Lawyers from Haley & Associates, Dedrick A. Moore Attorneys at Law, and the Ungelsby Law Firm held a news conference earlier in the day to discuss the shooting of Reyes and the teen.

“As we have all been told many times, sunlight is the best disinfectant. What we know about the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office is it’s infected, corrupted and it does not hold its deputies accountable,” said attorney Christopher Murell.

The families have been demonstrating outside of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office in Gretna for the past several weeks.

Members of the House Committee on Criminal Justice have asked for the JPSO deputies to wear body cameras and keep the videos for public record requests.

A deputy shot and killed Reyes May 27 after JPSO says he pointed a gun at them. Fox 8 was among numerous media outlets allowed to view taser view of the incident. That video has not been released to the public. But, our reporter says it showed an object that appears to be a gun fall out of Reyes’s hand moments after he was shot.

Attorneys for the Reyes family believe he had a firearm in a backpack but not on his person at the time of the shooting. They add Reyes’s mother had an independent autopsy done on her son.

“She has not seen the video, we have not seen the video, the public has not seen that 8 second video, so, she went and got an independent autopsy to get answers for herself and the results of that autopsy were that Modesto Reyes was shot twice in the back, that combined with the witness statements that we’ve been able to give shows that the accounting and spin by the Sheriff’s Department is wrong and false,” said attorney Ron Haley.

But, Lopinto says Reyes had two guns, one in each hand, at the time of the shooting; one of which the Sheriff says was stolen.

“He was shot in the back and he was shot in the front, autopsy report shows both, which was the same thing I said the other day, he was rolling over at the time, he was shot twice in the back and twice in the front, it’s not something we’re hiding, the facts are what the facts are, the coroner’s office does that autopsy,” said Lopinto.

Lawyers for Tre’mall Mcgee’s family say the sheriff’s office tried to hide its involvement into the March shooting that injured the 14-year-old.

But, JPSO Sheriff Joseph Lopinto disputes that.

“It happened during the first week of Coronavirus. I can tell you two different ways. Should an email have gone out to the press; probably so. It was a non life-threatening shooting and it did not go out, some of the protocols in place, I’ve made sure that changed, any deputy involved shooting, that will happen in the future,” said Lopinto.

The boy survived the shooting.

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