JEFFERSON PARISH, La. — According to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, deputies were speaking to Daniel Vallee, trying to get him to cooperate to get out of the vehicle.
Thirteen minutes later, the car started up and deputies opened fire.
The family hired Civil Rights attorney Glenn McGovern says he didn’t see anything in the video that should have led officers to feel the need to shoot at Vallee's seemingly parked car.
“You’ve got different levels of force that you can use. We call it a continuum of force,” McGovern said.
A continuum of force means how much force may be used against a resisting subject in a given situation.
McGovern says, from what he can see, it was the police that unnecessarily escalated the situation.
“You’re supposed to start at the bottom with physical force, talking, move up to tasers [or] pepper spray. I know JPSO has tasers. Why wasn’t he tased to force him to get out of the car?” McGovern asked.
The sheriff’s office issued a short statement saying Vallee escalated the situation by starting his engine.
McGovern says this statement by police is one his biggest points of contention.
“You can’t automatically shoot the car, shoot the occupants of the car if you can get out of way,” he said. “It has to be an immediate danger and we know, apparently, from reports he wasn’t armed. So, where’s the immediate threat?”
McGovern admits he’s still trying to get more information from JPSO, including the body camera footage that he hopes will shed more light on the situation.
Hopefully giving the family, especially Vallee’s 12-year-old daughter some sense of peace.
“Find out that happened give them closure. A lot of times it takes a third party like a judge or jury to say this person didn’t do anything wrong, that they didn’t deserve this,” McGovern said. “His constitutional rights were violated.”
His family set up a GoFundMe to help cover his funeral expenses.