New Orleans police officer Joshua Colclough, 28 (pictured left), has been charged with manslaughter for the fatal shooting of 20-year-old, unarmed Wendall Allen (pictured right), but claims that racial tensions in New Orleans are too high for him to receive a fair trial, reports NOLA.com.
On March 7, 2012, Colclough, a white, four-year veteran of the NOPD, entered into a home in the middle-class Gentilly section of New Orleans, allegedly with a search warrant for a marijuana investigation that did not involve Allen, who is black.
According to an internal police investigation, the officers knocked on the door of the home, but no one answered, forcing them to kick it in. As they fanned throughout the house, other officers claim they heard a single shot.
Allen, who was “unarmed, shirtless and wearing jeans and sneakers,” had been shot once in the chest by Colclough.
According to Coroner Frank Minyard, the bullet penetrated the lungs, heart and aorta of the 6’3, former Frederick Douglass High School basketball star, who fell to the floor and died “almost instantly.”
Five children were in the home at the time of the shooting, reports NOLA.com.
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro offered Colclough a plea deal, which he later refused. And his attorney, Claude Kelly, claims that information of the negotiations leaked to the press has fueled racial tensions:
“From the beginning, this incident has had racially charged implications,” Kelly wrote in his motion for a change of venue Friday. “Regardless of the facts of the matter, the populace — fueled by media reports during and after the incident — has become polarized along racial lines. Thus it is impossible for the court to seat a jury in this parish unbiased by the racially charged coverage that has permeated this incident.