Five days after holding a news conference to announce they had new evidence suggesting that police shot 20-year-old Wendell Allen in the back, Allen’s family and their lawyer reversed course after viewing crime scene photos Monday. They now believe the unarmed Allen was shot in the chest, attorney Lon Burns said.
That’s what New Orleans police officials and Orleans Parish coroner Frank Minyard have maintained all along.
Monday afternoon, Minyard allowed Burns and several members of the Allen family to view two crime scene photos. One photo shows an entry wound in the chest, Burns said. The second, which was also viewed by a Times-Picayune reporter last week, showed Allen’s back. Allen was shirtless when he was shot, and it’s clear in the photo that the skin of his back was not broken. But there is a small bump near his shoulder where the bullet came to rest, according to the coroner.
Minyard has said that the hole in Allen’s back that was noted by the funeral home that handled his body was the result of an incision made by a pathologist removing the bullet. Having seen the two photos, the family now agrees with that conclusion, Burns said.
Last week, Burns lit into Minyard’s office and the NOPD, suggesting the investigation into Allen’s shooting by officer Joshua Colclough was nothing more than a whitewash. He raised the specter of past NOPD killings and cover-ups and said the “history of the New Orleans Police Department is written in blood.”
Now, Burns said, “the family’s trust is greatly restored, and I’m happy about that.”
In a prepared statement, he went even further, saying that “today, the Allen family remains confident that the NOPD investigation … is free of scandal, cover-up or any type of machinations by those involved.”
Burns said he hopes the episode causes Minyard to rethink his office’s usual practice of not releasing crime scene