State Police Investigate La. Mayor De...

State Police Investigate La. Mayor Death

There are 48 comments on the The Associated Press story from Jan 3, 2007, titled State Police Investigate La. Mayor Death . In it, The Associated Press reports that:

State police on Wednesday began investigating the shooting death of the man who would have been this town's first black mayor, after his family questioned local officials' conclusion that he killed himself.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at The Associated Press.

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Carlene Ridgway

Lafayette, LA

#1 Jan 4, 2007
I have to say that, after taking into account the short time the sheriff's dept. spent on this investigation,(2 days), and the seriousness of this crime, the sheriff's dept. has not given the time required to do a thorough investigation. There is just no way all the factors that needed investigating could have been met in 2 days time. The ball was dropped by the sheriff and I am embarrassed as a citizen of this parish to think we are being "protected" by this kind of dept. How many days investigation would the sheriff have given if it would have been his own family? Gerald Washington was a man of integrity and professionalism and deserves better.
Sadeed

AOL

#2 Jan 4, 2007
It is the case of another black man being killed just because, he is black in this white ran usa.
6954COMMENT

Boca Raton, FL

#3 Jan 5, 2007
what so new about this. they been killing us for over 400 hundred years.
Lafayette Native

Midland, MI

#4 Jan 5, 2007
Suicide my a$$! That's ridiculous.
VERY few, if any, people commit suicide by shooting themselves in the chest. This is just another case of a small-town southern police department sweeping the murder of a black man under the rug. Some bigot in the town didn't want to see Westlake with a black mayor and took it upon himself to put a stop to it. This type of behavior from Louisiana's white citizens and police is not at all surprising.
LafayetteMan

Lafayette, LA

#5 Jan 5, 2007
How much of a BIGOT do you have to be to become the corner of WESTLAKE, LA. I Can't believe that this man seems to think that the Black Community is that STUPID. I think that because he can come and try to tell that Family such a DUMB ASS STATEMENT "HE SHOULD BE CONSIDERED A SUSPECT". These people should get their own autopsy done and then GET the DUMBASS FIRED, AND PUT IN JAIL FOR BEING AND ASSORY TO MURDER. PLEASE FIGHT TO GET HIS ASS CARGED
L Randle

AOL

#6 Jan 6, 2007
Racial injustice is not uncommon in the south it is just a way of life. Those wwho don't live in the south are really not aware of how things "really are".
haas

Woodstock, GA

#7 Jan 6, 2007
I am white and outraged by this coverup...who can we contact in that county to express our outrage...
Outsider looking in

Louisville, KY

#8 Jan 6, 2007
I agree with Carlene Ridgway. Well put.
L Randle, you sound like a brainless moran! it's not the 1800's anymore. Whitefolks in the south need to smarten up and get an education. I was in Slade, KY a few months ago and I saw a confedrate flag hanging outside of a coffee shop. The flag read; "If we'd a won the war, we'd a had it made". Had what made?!?! slavery for another 2-5 years?!?!? It's embarassing to see stuff like that in the 21st century. What about hard core, white, christian southerners? Does god tell them to hate people of a different race? Damn hypocrits make me sick!!!!!!!!!! Westlake, LA should appoint another black mayor and raise taxes in the community to hire a security team for the mayor.
concerned american

New York, NY

#9 Jan 6, 2007
Its really sad that after all these years of shameful and tragic American history of racism, some white people still think they have a right to privilege over other human beings and over the rule of law in this country. If Mr. Washington's killer gets away with this, we will be proving them right.
We are all equal human beings on this earth.
Barb Mannering

Happy Valley, OR

#10 Jan 6, 2007
Carlene Ridgway wrote:
I have to say that, after taking into account the short time the sheriff's dept. spent on this investigation,(2 days), and the seriousness of this crime, the sheriff's dept. has not given the time required to do a thorough investigation. There is just no way all the factors that needed investigating could have been met in 2 days time. The ball was dropped by the sheriff and I am embarrassed as a citizen of this parish to think we are being "protected" by this kind of dept. How many days investigation would the sheriff have given if it would have been his own family? Gerald Washington was a man of integrity and professionalism and deserves better.
I agree with you...when the news first came out I thought definitely a VERY OBVIOUS COVERUP or the sheriff is ignorant. Mr. Washington should be alive and well in his new job but typical of the Southern white mentality they still think they can get away with murder, I don't believe for one second that this was a suicide. It disgusts me as a white person that there are humans who dislike others because of their skin colour....I don't understand it!! My condolences to Mr. Washington's family & hope they find the killer(s)ASAP.
Rebecca

Temple, TX

#11 Jan 6, 2007
Growing up in Calcasieu parish I have witnessed many murders go unsolved. Questionable deaths, deemed suicide or natural causes. It makes you sick! The local sheriff's department just doesn't have the knowledge or will to actually try to solve these deaths. With all the technology out there it seems as though they would try to utilize some of it. They say it's suicide, but did they do forensics on the mayor? Did they check for gun powder residue on his hands? If he "actually" killed himself wouldn't there be residue? I am so sick of hearing how racist we are in the south.. If the people in this "white" majority community were racist, then why did he receive such a large number of votes in the election? That whole they are white and southern, therefore they are racist BS really ticks me off!! I pray that someone will take over this case and get to the bottom of it. I also pray for the family. May the Lord give them the strength to make it through this.
Bondo

Hannibal, MO

#12 Jan 6, 2007
Some of you need to stop and read the story, I do not think there were more than one or two people connected with this murder, Sloppy police work and dumb ass corner should not be confused with all the people in the parish after all they did elect Mr. Washington as their Mayor so some how the race card just dont fit the communiy, perhaps just one or two biggots in it .

Sorry foy your loss Washington Family
Aria

AOL

#13 Jan 6, 2007
The police in Westlake have obviously not done their jobs in this investigation. It is obvious that the Mayor's death was not a suicide. My heart goes out to Mr. Wshington's family and supporters. The residents of Westlake would be remiss to not demand that the FBI do a full investigation on this incident.
michella

Clayton, NC

#14 Jan 6, 2007
May justice prevail for the Washington Family because this is nothing but a HUGE cover up...forget a State investigation I think this sheriff department's sloppy work demands a Federal Investigation
Outraged citizen

AOL

#15 Jan 6, 2007
It's sad how the media and public officials have handled this case. The quotes attributed to the coroner suggest that the mayor's death, which he has ruled a suicide is not unusual. What person goes through the trouble of running for public office, wins and then does themselves in? It makes no sense.

Interesting that the coroner can report that the wound was made at point blank range based on gunpowder residue found on the clothes and in the wound. But does that automatically mean that Mr. Washington pulled the trigger? And if you are going to report that, why not speak about the presence or lack of residue on the mayor's hands.

And since when is the death of a public official, especially such a violent death, even in small town USA, so easily opened and shut?

I'm also confused by comments like the one attributed AP for Topix.net . "...the the man who would have been this town's first black mayor." Did he get sworn in 11 days before his death? If he did, then wasn't he in fact the first black mayor of that town? If a typo, then someone needs to do some better editing since such an error can go a long way toward winding people up even more. If not a typo, then it's a statement that adds fuel to racial unrest in this country by not recognizing the man for what he had achieved. And the media should know better...
Ken

United States

#16 Jan 6, 2007
I find it incredible that someone as prominent as a mayor could be the victim of such a horrible act. I find it even more indredible that the local sheriff thinks that they can cover it up. This should make anyone, black or other, concerned. It would only seem prudent that top city officials would have called for an independent investigation. I don't for a minute believe that this was sloppy police work! It is arrogance! I wonder what else goes on in that city?
Fran SC

United States

#17 Jan 6, 2007
After reading this story there needs further investigation. It isn't believable that Mr Washington killed himself.

Something is way to fishy and outside people need to look into it.
Carlene Ridgway

Lafayette, LA

#18 Jan 6, 2007
Gerald Washington was a friend of mine for almost 20 years, and I stake my life on the fact that he DID NOT kill himself. He was a happy person, a respecter of life, as well as a protector of life, and always a man of integrity. No way would he have willingly brought this kind of trauma upon his family. Today,Jan. 6, is his birthday, give him a moments peace in the midst of this unrest. My heart is with the family and pray that outside help will solve this crime, hopefully the FBI.
Westlake voter

Decatur, GA

#19 Jan 6, 2007
I have been reading,everything on this case since it happened.I am so glad this has received national attention. I believe there is the truth in most of the comments about this local law enforcement,City and Parish and the Coroners Office. I've been told and warned not to be too outspoken for my thoughts or feelings. So as of now I hope yall understand that I can't comment too much. I may be the the next victim in Westlake,La. I am white and I am a strong supporter of our Honorable Mayor Washington and his family. Thank you all and keep this alive.
Tan

Uvalde, TX

#20 Jan 6, 2007
Ms. Ridgeway, I am sorry about the loss of your friend. It seems as though the ball has truly been dropped. This reminds me of a scence from "The Heat of the Night" these officials seem as incompetent as those that were portrayed in that movies. I hope that this gets solved. Once again I am deeply sorry about the loss of your good friend.
Carlene Ridgway wrote:
Gerald Washington was a friend of mine for almost 20 years, and I stake my life on the fact that he DID NOT kill himself. He was a happy person, a respecter of life, as well as a protector of life, and always a man of integrity. No way would he have willingly brought this kind of trauma upon his family. Today,Jan. 6, is his birthday, give him a moments peace in the midst of this unrest. My heart is with the family and pray that outside help will solve this crime, hopefully the FBI.

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