More bad news has come for Democrat Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins’ Senate campaign. Even worse for him, it’s more bad news for his potential reelection.
Last week, Caddo Parish’s current grand jury brought charges against four Shreveport police officers in the death of Tommie McGlothen. Called to the scene of a disturbance McGlothen apparently had instigated, after using force to subdue him and putting him unsupervised into a police vehicle, he began to have medical problems and died hospitalized a short while later.
McGlothen was black, which made him a candidate for a narrative America’s political left increasingly had propagated that somehow, despite considerable evidence discrediting it, that white police officers discriminate against blacks, leading to deaths through excessive force. Adding credibility to this particular instance was a coroner’s report that said different actions might have prevented McGlothen’s death.
This created a campiagn avenue for Perkins, who faces off against incumbent Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy later this fall. National Democrats accuse the GOP of a weak response to the left’s narrative, and even blocked a bill onto which Cassidy had become a co-author designed to improve police training and to minimize opportunities for misconduct. Perkins had a chance to pile on here in calling Cassidy’s efforts insufficient to address the reputed problem.
Except, of course, that Perkins is the ultimate boss of the indicted officers. And he can’t even use the narrative to his own advantage, because three of the four officers involved are black. This aspect, of course, explains why so little media attention has come to an incident that showed genuine supposed officer disregard of the rights of a suspect compared to just about any of the incidents made higher-profile where the left and its media allies saw to engage the narrative ad naseum.
And Perkins will want to keep things quiet, because the initial evidence shows the negligence of his police department. Officers had encountered McGlothen, who suffered mental illness, earlier on the day of his death and those on the scene were aware of his mental difficulties. For improper policing techniques and denial of medical treatment, the jury charged the officers with negligent homicide and malfeasance.
Perkins had been campaigning on changes he had overseen in policing to reduce the amount of force potentially used against suspects. He played a direct role in appointing as permanent police chief the interim Ben Raymond, who implemented these changes – and having to name him in politically embarrassing fashion, when a panel to which he outsourced the job of forwarding nominations for the permanent job left Raymond off the list, and Perkins had to repudiate his own committee’s work by selecting Raymond.
To all the world, this incident appears as a failure of Perkins’ administration, where instead of scoring political points it becomes a liability. And not just in his underdog Senate campaign, but in his hopes to win reelection as mayor in 2022 if, as expected, he falls short against Cassidy. Future opponents can question why he and his handpicked chief let the department inadequately train officers to deal with mentally-challenged individuals.
Making a Senate run was a risky move for Perkins, because of several controversies he embroiled himself into in the short time he has served at Shreveport’s helm that could become more publicized by a statewide run. This greater level of attention could harm his chances at a repeat of his current gig and also creates a louder sounding board when something negative to his fortunes, like this, comes about. Because of his Senate quest, it’s all the easier for his potential future challengers to magnify into people’s consciousness Perkins’ culpability on issue like this, thus creating more reason to vote him out.