Louisiana deputy who died by suicide shared videos on racism in policing
Lafayette Parish deputy Clyde Kerr III talked right to the camera about officers' brutality against Blacks — and cops' mental health needs.
Louisiana sheriff’s deputy Clyde Kerr III took his own life on Monday outside of his workplace at the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office.
According to reports, Kerr left a series of videos on social media in which he talked directly to the camera about several topics, including police brutality against Blacks, the mental health needs of officers, as well as issues like existing division in American society and how children are affected by exposure to violence and other traumatizing influences.
“You have no idea how hard it is to put a uniform on in this day and age with everything that’s going on,” he said in one video.
“My entire life has been in the service of other people,” said Kerr. “Y’all entrust me to safeguard your little ones, your small ones, the thing that’s most precious to you, and I did that well. I passed security clearance in the military … but that has allowed me to see the inner workings of things.”
He referenced specific deaths at law enforcers’ hands: Botham Jean, killed by off-duty officer Amber Geiger in his Dallas apartment in 2018, plus George Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor in Louisville and Trayford Pellerin, who was killed by Lafayette Police Department officers, all in the spring and summer of 2020.
Kerr was a military veteran and a father who, in one of his videos, said that he struggled explaining Floyd’s death to his son.
“If this feels right to you as a person,” he said, “then something is wrong with you.”
“I understand we have a tough job, but we signed up for this,” Kerr opined on his chosen profession. “We need help. Because when you deal with the bottom rung of society, that does not give us an excuse to just do whatever you want, and that’s what we’re doing, and we’re not being held accountable.”
In one of the last videos, he plainly states: “I’ve had enough.”
Lafayette Parish Sheriff Mark Garner confirmed Kerr’s death Monday in a statement.
“The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office is heartbroken to confirm the loss of a member of our LPSO family, who took his own life this morning,” said Garner. “My heart goes out to his immediate family and to all of the brothers and sisters he has at the sheriff’s office.”
“We will do everything in our power” he said, “to support our employees as we all grieve.”
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline immediately at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “HOME” to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.