The Suspicious Death of Victor White III


Michael Brown’s death at the hands of Officer Darren Wilson is obviously capturing the national attention right now, primarily because of the overwhelming police response, the looting and the death itself. And it deserves that attention, don’t get me wrong. Still, there are obviously other cases that also deserve a critical eye. Consider Victor White III’s death:

It [his death from a gunshot wound] happened while handcuffed in the backseat of an Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office patrol car, during a drug arrest. According to State Police, who are handling the investigation, once at the jail, White refused to exit the vehicle.  As the arresting deputy requested assistance, they say white produced a handgun he had been hiding in his pants, and shot himself in the back.

So, let’s assess the plausibility here: You’re handcuffed in the back of a police vehicle. Yet, somehow you’re able to shoot yourself in the back with a gun you somehow still had on your person, despite having already been arrested. Two possibilities exist, then:

  • Victor White III killed himself. His death was ruled a suicide after all. Somehow he managed to achieve this feat.
  • Victor White III did not kill himself.

If he did shoot himself, then that’s absolutely some gross incompetence at the hands of the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office. They arrested him. Therefore, he should not have had a gun on his person.

If he didn’t shoot himself, then, well. I haven’t even seen the ACLU discuss this seemingly suspicious death. Consider the newly released autopsy report:

But the autopsy, performed by the Iberia Parish Coroner’s Office, reports the opposite, listing the cause of death as a gunshot wound to the chest. The family is puzzled as to how he could have shot himself in the chest with his hands cuffed behind his back. 

So, if his hands were behind his back and he shot himself in the back, excusing the gross incompetence of the police, maybe you can visualize how such a thing could happen. However, if his hands were behind his back and as the autopsy report says, he died by gunshot wound to the chest…How? It’s possible he somehow managed in the backseat of a police vehicle to use incredible flexibility to bring his handcuffed hands to the front of his body, grab the gun and shoot himself in the chest.

But, really?

Vice offers more details for what led to the “incident”:

According to initial information offered by Trooper Stephen Hammons to the press back in March, Victor III was stopped under the suspicion that he was involved in a fight at a convenience store near his home. Hammons claimed the unnamed deputy involved searched White III, found unidentified narcotics on his person, and arrested him. When they arrived at Iberia Parish Sherrif’s Office, they said Victor III refused to exit the cruiser and became “uncooperative.” That’s when he allegedly “produced” a handgun and fired off one round into his back, killing himself.

The report also lists two abrasions on Victor III’s upper left face and around his eye, which seems to be in line with what White’s father, Victor White Sr., told me a couple weeks after his son’s death: “I know they beat him before he arrived at the station,” he said, “because those who were with him before he was arrested said he didn’t have a mark on him.”

I’m not sure what happened, but there is enough suspicious and contradictory information here that this story should be garnering some eyeballs. I especially hope the ACLU gets in on this. I sent them some Tweets, so we’ll see.



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