In July of 2019, Vance Matranga Jr., a deputy with the West Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, was executing a no-knock search warrant with the River West Task Force at the Budget 7 Motel in Port Allen. There, he shot and killed Josef Richardson, 38. The autopsy ruled Richardson’s death a homicide caused by one bullet to the back of the neck.
Richardson did not have a gun. Prior to this shooting, a 2016 lawsuit alleges that deputy Matranga broke Fredrick Johnson of Port Allen’s leg by running into him with a police cruiser and then tackling and refusing to get him medical help for several hours.
This is not the level of empathy we want our police officers to have. They are not supposed to be handing out death sentences. And I believe that these two incidences are enough to fire officer Matranga for excessive force before he kills someone else.
At bare minimum, he should never carry a weapon on duty again. I am also calling on The West Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office to end the use of no-knock search warrants in the light of Joseph Richardson and Breonna Taylor’s deaths. No knock warrants create a tense situation where deescalation tactics cannot thrive, and often times endanger lives that have nothing to do with the crime they are there for.
I hope you will join me in calling for these changes.