By: HOWARD CASTAY JR.
The May 31 death of his 27-year-old son Robert has left Raceland's Larry Ingram with many questions.
During a dispute that morning near Market Street, a Lafourche Parish Sheriff's deputy reportedly used a Taser to subdue Robert Ingram. According to sheriff's office reports, Robert Ingram was wanted for an outstanding warrant for a domestic disturbance. His father, however, argues the fine had been paid.
No weapon was found in Robert Ingram's possession, leaving the man's family wondering why a Taser was used. Authorities reported that the Taser was drawn after the Raceland man attempted to flee.
Robert Ingram died later that afternoon at Oschner's St. Anne Hospital in Raceland.
Ingram said on a radio broadcast last week that he believes his son died immediately after being struck by the normally non-lethal weapon. It's a point authorities dispute, however, because of pending litigation, are not offering comment about.
During the "Jerome Boykin Show" on KBZE 105.9FM, Ingram said his wife and daughter arrived on the scene first. She told Ingram deputies on the scene kicked their son and were heard repeating, "Get up, there ain't nothing wrong with you."
The two witnesses told Ingram deputies briefly attempted to perform CPR on Robert Ingram, but stopped after getting no response, he said.
When Acadian Ambulance arrived at the scene, Ingram said his wife and daughter noted that the sirens and lights were not activated. "They came in, picked Robert up and they didn't even try again with the CPR because the paramedics were advised my son was dead," Ingram told Boykin. "And when the paramedics put him on the stretcher, they folded his arms across his chest. When they turned loose of his arms, they both fell on the sides of the stretcher. He was dead there."
Ingram recounted his wife telling him the ambulance drove away, again, without its emergency lights operating.
Around 1:30 a.m., Ingram's daughter notified him that his son had been injured. "My daughter called me screaming at the top of her voice," Ingram told Boykin, "telling me that, 'Officers had Tasered Robert and there was no response from him. Come as soon as you can.'"
According to Ingram, the family was prevented from seeing their son by hospital staff.
"What do you mean I can't come in?" Ingram recalled asking. "That's my own flesh and blood!"
Nearly two hours later, Ingram said a nurse appeared, "almost with tears in her eyes," and confirmed that Robert Ingram was alive, but that the medical team was continuing to work on him. "All I wanted to do was to peep at the door to see my child, but she wouldn't let me," he said.
Later that morning, Robert Ingram was pronounced dead.
However, his father continues to contend, based on reports from his wife and daughter, that his son died on Market Street before the ambulance ever arrived.
The family is also at odds with the Lafourche Parish Sheriff's office over the diligence of the investigation following Robert Ingram's death.
"As far as the sheriff's office is concerned, it's a done deal," Ingram said. "The sheriff said everything the officers did was justifiable."
"To be honest... the officer who used the Taser was never taken off of duty," Ingram told Boykin. "I see him daily around the Raceland area. He is still going on the force like nothing ever happened. Like it was no more than killing a dog - that was it."
Ingram said his family is seeking an investigation into their son's death by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. "Robert was the most kind and caring person," he said. "I'm not buying this... We as a family want some answers. We are not going to back down."
(Robert Ingram is pictured above right, as he appeared on the Jerome Boykin Show on KBZE).