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Family, community demand justice for NOPD shooting victim

27th March 2017   ·   0 Comments

Two months after a New Orleans man was fatally shot by the NOPD as police searched for an armed robbery suspect, the family, friends and supporters of the slain man are gathering to demand justice for him.

Initially, police said that Arties Lee Manning III, 26, was an armed robbery suspect who had pulled a gun on a plainclothes NOPD officer.

Orleans Parish Coroner Dr. Jeffrey Rouse said that Manning was shot in the shoulder, side and back, damaging his lung, spleen and liver.



The fatal shooting occurred just over a month after the City of New Orleans reached a $13.3 million settlement with family members and survivors of several officer-involved killings in 2005,

Two of those incidents — the Danziger Bridge shootings and the killing of Henry Glover on the West Bank — occurred less than a week after Hurricane Katrina and led to a U.S. Department of Justice probe that said the NOPD was rife with corruption and abuse. The killings also led to a also led to a federally mandated NOPD consent decree aimed at overhauling the troubled police department, which began in August 2013 and is still being implemented.

Despite the high-profile, officer-involved killings, an NOPD officer fatally shot 20-year-old Wendell Allen while he was standing unarmed and shirtless in his home and reached a settlement for an undisclosed amount last year.

While the NOPD did not identify the plainclothes officer who shot Arties Manning III, The New Orleans Advocate reported that the shooter was NOPD Officer Terrance Hilliard, a seven-year veteran assigned to a special task force formed last year to address armed robberies.

From the very beginning, Natasha Manning insisted that her son was not involved in the rash of armed robberies and had no knowledge of them. Three weeks after Arties Manning’s death, police confirmed that the shooting victim was not an armed robbery suspect.

Still, two months after the fatal shooting, Natasha Manning says that the NOPD has yet to acknowledge that it took the life of an innocent man or apologize to the family. She says the NOPD has also failed to return Arties Manning’s belongings, including his cellphone, to his family.

“It is my understanding that Mr. Manning’s belongings were returned to his family last week, that they were picked up by their attorney,” NOPD spokesman Beau Tidwell told The Louisiana Weekly Friday.

Manning said she last saw her son on Christmas Day but spoke to him often by phone.

Most of what she knows about his final hours she has had to figure out on her own, she told The New Orleans Advocate.

“Since they shot him, I’m finding out that my son lived in a very, very bad area,” she said.

Manning learned that her son walked to another apartment in the complex to buy a hot plate of food from another resident and was on the phone with his girlfriend about 5 p.m. but that conversation was cut off after about five minutes.

While Manning doesn’t know if her son, who moved back to New Orleans from Atlanta in 2012, had a gun, she didn’t rule out that possibility considering conditions in certain parts of the city.

“When you have a young Black male living in an environment like that, you feel like you need to protect yourself,” she told The New Orleans Advocate.

However, she says she is convinced that her son would never point a gun at anyone, especially not a law enforcement officer. “I don’t believe my son pulled no gun. I believe my son was so scared of getting shot that he threw that gun,” she said.

“I really believe that my son was in the wrong place at the wrong time, caught up in something he had nothing to do with,” she added.

Manning emphasized the fact that her son did not have “a history of violence.”

Detectives with the NOPD’s Force Investigation Team are spearheading a probe of the fatal shooting.

A search of court records in Orleans and Jefferson parishes and Atlanta, Ga. show that Arties Manning III had no previous brushes with the law.

“There is no new information to report regarding the shooting at this time,” the NOPD told The Louisiana Weekly Friday. Eyewitness accounts affirm that the deceased raised his weapon at the NOPD officer. However, our PIB unit has determined that the deceased was not involved in the armed robberies that were being investigated by the TIGER unit on the night in question. Deputy Chief Arlinda Westbrook met with family members last month to share that information and to give them a detailed update on the ongoing investigation into the officer-involved shooting. We remain committed to a transparent, thorough investigation.

“At this stage in the process: our interviews are complete, and we are waiting for all evidence to be processed. Once we receive all of those results — including the full coroner’s report and tests performed on both the weapon used by the deceased and the weapon of the officer involved—we will complete our investigation and forward the results to the District Attorney’s office. This process can take several months, but the NOPD is committed to conducting a thorough, transparent, and efficient investigation.”

Family members, friends, supporters, civil rights leaders and activists were to gather on the steps of the Orleans Parish Criminal Courthouse on the evening of March 24 to demand justice for Arties Lee Manning III.

In a letter to The Louisiana Weekly dated March 21, Natasha Manning made it clear that she is doing everything she can to not only hold those who are responsible for her son’s death accountable but to make sure that the NOPD doesn’t continue to get away with killing other innocent people.

“It took the NOPD three weeks to clear his name, even after the intended suspect confessed to the armed robberies,” Natasha Manning wrote. “The NOPD tried to assassinate my son’s character, so they had no choice but to clear his name. Witnesses have come forward but because of the corruption in the past, they may be in fear for their lives. I need to bring attention to this MURDER of my son Arties Lee Manning III. He had no criminal record and he was not a person of interest. So why is my son dead?

“If this goes unnoticed they will continue to murder our young Black men for nothing and change the scene of the crime to make it go in their favor. My son did not deserve to be gunned down like this. He was loved by everyone who knew him and he was very respectful and he had other aspirations and goals. He was my first-born son. He was a big brother, a friend, an uncle and looked up to by many people across three states.”

Natasha Manning appeared on the local cable-access show “OurStory” Wednesday night and said that she won’t stop fighting to secure justice for her son and the family.

“Justice for our family would mean that the NOPD owns up to what it did and apologizes to our family,” she told “OurStory. “I just want everybody to know that I’m still in the fight for justice for my son.”

This article originally published in the March 27, 2017 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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