A lawsuit was filed yesterday by Rodricus Crawford against the Caddo Parish Coroner’s Office, former District Attorney Dale Cox and others for Rodricus’s wrongful conviction and death sentence. Having been exonerated and freed from death row, Rodricus is now seeking justice for himself and his family for the years he was unjustly incarcerated.
Rodricus was wrongfully arrested, charged and convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death when his one-year-old son, Roderius, died in 2012. Roderius was suffering from pneumonia at the time of his death, and bacteria in his blood indicated that the death was due to sepsis.
From the moment the Crawford family called for help, the criminal justice system and institutions in Shreveport treated Rodricus Crawford like a criminal. From the 911 operator to the Coroner, the paramedics to the prosecutor, officials assumed that Rodricus Crawford was a murderer– rather than a loving father attempting to take care of a sick child.
The lawsuit against the Coroner’s Office, paramedics, the Fire Department, and former prosecutor Dale Cox, along with the DA’s Office details the defendants’ failure to properly train and supervise, to adhere to professional standards, to take the care that citizens expect and deserve from our officials.
William Claiborne, an attorney for Rodricus stated :
Just because you live in one part of town, or your house has more family living in it; just because you are poor or a person of color, doesn’t mean they can treat you like a criminal. We have laws against that in this country.
Cecelia Kappel, the attorney who led the effort to exonerate Rodricus and who continues to pursue justice for Mr. Crawford stated:
Caddo Parish should never again assume that a father is guilty of killing his child just because of his race and his poverty. Shreveport will never be able to make Rodricus and his family entirely whole, but it must take steps to ensure this never happens again, that it should spend its effort helping families heal rather than pursuing vengeance.
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