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2 Louisiana deputies face manslaughter charges in fatal shooting of unarmed man

By Jamiel Lynch, CNN

Two Louisiana deputies have been arrested on manslaughter charges following the fatal shooting of a man last week, authorities said.

The two deputies were among officers who responded to a disturbance call at a known crack house in Marrero on February 16 around 2:15 a.m., Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joseph Lopinto said at a Monday news conference.

When deputies arrived, Daniel Vallee was outside the house in a vehicle. Deputies tried for about 12 minutes to get Vallee to exit the vehicle, which he refused to do, Lopinto said.

He added that Vallee started the vehicle, which escalated the situation because he believes the officers — who were in front of the vehicle — thought he was going to drive off. The deputies drew their weapons and “begged” Vallee to turn the vehicle off, the sheriff said.

At one point, Valle dropped his hands, hitting the horn, and two deputies reacted with gunfire, the sheriff said. Multiple shots were fired, the sheriff said.

Valle, who was not armed, died on the scene, the sheriff said. Five deputies were present during the incident, he added.

Deputies Isaac Hughes and Johnaton Louis were initially placed on administrative leave after the shooting, as police began an investigation. They have now been fired from the department, according to a Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office news release.

They were both arrested on manslaughter charges, Lopinto said. Hughes and Louis were booked Monday night at the Jefferson Parish Jail.

Lopinto said this was the first deputy-involved shooting where deputies wore body cameras, which are new to their department. The body camera video will be released when the investigation is completed, the sheriff said. He added the deputies cooperated with the investigation and did not lie and that the “the body cam video actually backed up what their statements were.”

“Their perception was that their life was in danger at that point time,” he said.

“I know they have a very tough job to do. This was certainly not intentional. It’s not a criminal act,” Lopinto said. “There was force that was certainly justified in this moment, but it wasn’t deadly force.”

The Jefferson County District Attorney’s office told CNN that Hughes appeared before a judge who denied his motion to reduce his bond. His bond remains at $150,000 and he will be in court again on March 8. His attorney has not replied to CNN’s request for comment.

The DA’s office told CNN that it has no information on when Louis will be in court. It’s unclear if he has hired an attorney.

CNN’s calls to the police union for comment on the case were not immediately returned.

Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled Johnaton Louis’s first name.

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