September 2, 2014

United States Attorney Confirms Federal Investigation into the Death of Victor White, III

LAFAYETTE, LA—Stephanie Finley, the United States Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, confirmed today that a federal investigation is ongoing into the death of 23-year-old Victor White III, who died in March while in the custody of the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office. The coroner subsequently determined that Mr. White’s death was a suicide, but Mr. White’s family has disputed that conclusion. The United States Attorney’s Office, the FBI, and the Criminal Section of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division are responsible for investigating allegations of civil rights violations by officials acting under color of law, and for determining whether the evidence demonstrates that a civil rights violation occurred and that it was willful. U.S. Attorney Finley stated that a federal representative has reached out to the White family to assure them that the Department of Justice will follow where the evidence leads and will take appropriate action based on that evidence.

“This tragic incident deserves a full review of the evidence; our objective is to discover the truth,” Ms. Finley stated. “The FBI has been working parallel with the current investigation. Our review will take time to complete. FBI agents, along with attorneys from my office and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, will carefully review the results of the current investigation by the Louisiana State Police, will determine what additional investigation, if any, is necessary to determine who fired the fatal shot, and whether the evidence demonstrates a willful civil rights violation. The federal investigation will supplement, rather than supplant, the investigation by state authorities. Once the investigation is complete, we will carefully review the results to decide if any prosecutable violations of federal criminal civil rights statutes occurred.”