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When Independent Police Oversight Becomes Too Independent

New Orleans’ independent police monitor released videos of police violence. Now her job is in danger.
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REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

New Orleans police barged into the Allen family home on March 7, 2012, armed with a search warrant secured only minutes before and with a lot of guns. One of the cops was also armed with a stealth video-recording device, unbeknownst to his squad. Within seconds of tearing through the house’s back door and first floor, which was filled with children, Officer Joshua Colclough ran up the steps and encountered Wendell Allen, who the officer then shot in the chest.

Allen, 20 years old, was unarmed and was wearing only pajama bottoms. He died from Colclough’s shot. Allen’s brother and a friend, both 19, witnessed the shooting. Normally it would have been their word against the police’s in terms of who was at fault. At least one police investigator was reportedly framing the crime scene interrogations in terms that suggested Allen was trying to kill Colclough.