Shreveport Louisiana DA Dale Cox
Dale Cox, the acting District Attorney of Caddo Parish, the county seat of Shreveport, Louisiana is so extreme, so racist, so absurd, so violent, that some of his professional colleagues are seriously asking if he has a brain tumor
Other Shreveport lawyers were similarly confused. When Henry Walker, the former president of the state’s criminal-defense bar, heard that Cox had screamed “God damn it!” in court, he e-mailed the bar’s Listserv to express concern that Cox had “developed a state of mental imbalance and may need help very badly.” He wrote, “I remember a very different Dale Cox, a person of unquestioned integrity, whose demeanor was always very professional and courteous,” adding, “Of course, he may have, by always masking his true volatility, become over time so tightly wound that an explosion was inevitable.” A few lawyers guessed that Cox’s divorce and a personal bankruptcy, in 2005, had made him bitter.
But, this is no laughing matter. Lives, particularly black lives, are at stake in Shreveport and District Attorney Dale Cox is downright dangerous and appears to have put an innocent young man from Shreveport, Rodricus Crawford, on death row
Let's examine ten very disturbing facts about Dale Cox and his record in Caddo Parish.
1. Shreveport is now leading the nation in the number of people it sentences to death.
Juries in Caddo Parish, which has a population of two hundred and fifty thousand, now sentence more people to death per capita than juries in any other county in America. Seventy-seven per cent of those sentenced to death in the past forty years have been black.
Dale Cox is leading the way
Since 2011, Dale Cox, a jowly sixty-seven-year-old man with thinning white hair, has been responsible for more than a third of the death sentences in Louisiana.
Dale Cox is disturbingly racist
. When asked about the connect between race and the death penalty he made this horrific statement,
“People have played the race card in this country for so long, and at some point we really need to stop and say, ‘O.K., that was a long, long, long time ago. It’s different now.’ ” He said, “Yeah, a lot of terrible things have happened in the world everywhere. And in some places it gets better, like here. And in some places it doesn’t, like Africa or Kosovo.”
Dale Cox openly admitted
that he sees the death penalty as "revenge" and not a deterrent.
"I'm a believer that the death penalty serves society's interest in revenge. I know it's a hard word to say and people run from it, but I don't run from it because I think there is a very strong societal interest as a people," Cox said. "I think (revenge) is the only reason for it."
Dale Cox openly stated
he wished he could "kill more people."
"I think we need to kill more people. … I think the death penalty should be used more often. It has come to the place in our society where it is used less often, and I think crime in our society has expanded so expeditiously ... that we're going the wrong way with the death penalty that we need it more than ever and we're using it less now," he said.
He went on to say
“Over time, I have come to the position that revenge is important for society as a whole. We have certain rules that you are expected to abide by, and when you don’t abide by them you have forfeited your right to live among us.”
In front of the Shreveport courthouse is only one monument
. You guessed it...
The only structure on the front lawn of the Caddo Parish courthouse, in downtown Shreveport, is a monument to the Confederacy, which includes the busts of four Confederate generals. A large stone slab on the ground is inscribed with the Confederate flag and a tribute to the “deeds and valor of the men who so gallantly, nobly, and conscientiously defended the cause.”
Shreveport had more lynchings
than every county in America except for one.
In the decades after the Civil War, Caddo Parish—home to the last capital of the Confederacy—had more lynchings than all but one county in the South. Several men were lynched in front of the courthouse.
Dale Cox used racially coded language
to describe what he thought of Shreveport.
“We’re not considered a society anymore—we’re a jungle.”
Racism is not even hidden in the office
Others thought that Dale had become too immersed in the culture of the D.A.’s office; it was the sort of institution where a longtime assistant district attorney felt comfortable hanging a large portrait of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general and an early leader of the Ku Klux Klan, on the wall. “Nobody there is that far from turning into a savage,” Walker told me. “If somebody releases the chain, they’ll be off and running.”
Perhaps the most disturbing death row case in the country right now is that of a young man named Rodricus Crawford. You have to read this brilliant piece in the New Yorker by Rachel Aviv on his case here
. Here's the start of her piece...
A week after his son turned one, Rodricus Crawford woke up a few minutes before 7 A.M. on the left side of his bed. His son was sleeping on the right side, facing the door. Crawford, who was twenty-three, reached over to wake him up, but the baby didn’t move. He put his ear on his son’s stomach and then began yelling for his mother. “Look at the baby!” he shouted.