A feud between a Louisiana mayor and a local judge may have led to the Nov. 3 shooting that left Jeremy Mardis, 6, dead, says the Washington Post. He was the youngest person shot and killed by a police officer this year in the nation. Why were deputy marshals, whose main job is serving court papers for the judge, chasing cars and shooting suspects? How did one of the deputies, who had been charged twice for aggravated rape and racked up a string of lawsuits accusing him of using excessive force, even get hired? “It's pretty clear to me that if this feud didn't exist, those marshals wouldn't have been there that day,” said one former city official. The Post says Louisiana State Police are still trying to determine why the deputies were chasing an SUV driven by Jeremy’s father, Chris Few, who was not armed and was not the subject of an arrest warrant.
It all happened in Marksville, La., which has an elected marshal with no police training required. Within the last two months, the marshal began patrolling the streets and issuing tickets like regular city police, apparently to raise money to run the local court. That happened after the city’s police department started issuing fewer tickets, reducing the court’s income. Derrick Stafford, one of the men who shot at Jeremy and his father, was a police officer moonlighting as a deputy marshal. He was charged twice with rape; both charges were dropped with no explanation. Stafford and fellow officer Norris Greenhouse have been charged with murder.