Petition To Be Delivered On Anniversary Of Victor White III’s Death
Feb 28, 2015 — March 2, 2015, marks the one-year anniversary of the death of Victor White III, who died of a gunshot wound while in police custody in Iberia Parish. White’s father, Rev. Victor White Sr., will mark the date by delivering a petition to the Iberia Parish Coroner’s office, asking them to change the official cause of death from suicide to homicide.
Police authorities claim that White shot and killed himself while locked in a patrol car with his hands cuffed behind his back. Iberia Parish Coroner Carl Ditch confirmed this finding in his autopsy report, and it is this report which the petition aims to overturn. Over 5,500 signatures have been gathered in support of the petition on the website Change.org.
Several details from the investigation seriously undermine the suicide explanation. The bullet would was found in his chest, not his back, and was on his right side, while White was left-handed. White had been frisked twice while in custody, making it extremely unlikely that he had a gun hidden on his person. Finally, there was no ‘stippling,’ or unburned gunpowder, around the wound, which is expected with point-blank gunshot wounds.
Rev. White Sr. is delivering the petition, which gathered signatures with the support of local activist group Baton Rouge Organizing, in hopes that Ditch will reconsider his ruling in light of this evidence. The family has consistently rejected the explanation of suicide as out of character for Victor White III, who had a baby daughter and was known for his loving attitude and sense of humor.
White family attorney Carol Powell-Lexing has argued that “short of him being Houdini or David Copperfield,” the official explanation is simply not possible. The case has also garnered national attention in a year fraught with concerns about racialized police violence.
Rev. White and supporters will deliver the petition to the Coroner’s office in New Iberia, LA, at 11:00 am, on Monday March 2.
Baton Rouge Organizing is a group that promotes local activism, responds to instances of injustice, and educates our communities in coalition with existing progressive organizations that work toward social justice.