New TV Documentary Explores Race, Police Brutality in Fatal Shooting of Victor White
Race and police brutality are linked together again in Investigation Discovery’s new two-hour documentary “Sugar Town”, recounting a fatal incident in New Iberia, Louisiana.
On March 2nd, 2014, 22-year-old Victor White III, an African-American resident of New Iberia, was a suspect in a local convenience store fight in which he wasn’t involved.
After he was detained by police, he was fatally shot in the back of a police car while being taken to the station. The officers claimed that White shot himself in the chest despite being handcuffed behind his back in the rear seat of the patrol car.
Subsequent reports said there were also abrasions on his face and that no weapon had been found on White when he was searched prior to the shooting.
The small town of New Iberia was built on sugar cane production and has a history of racial division that predates the Civil War. White residents literally live predominately north of the train tracks, while blacks mostly live south of it— furthering this socioeconomic disparity.
“Sugar Town” chronicles the White family’s search for justice for Victor’s suspicious death while in police custody. Their investigation eventually reveals a larger and even more tragic story of power, corruption, and racial injustice with Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal—a man with a history of using excessive violence and racial slurs—at the center.
The documentary interviews several members of the New Iberia community, intercut with commentary from civil rights attorney Clayton Burgess and the White family’s attorney Carol Powell Lexing.
“Tragedies like these unfortunately catapult people into becoming activists,” said Henry Schleiff, Group President, Investigation Discovery (ID), Travel Channel, American Heroes Channel and Destination America. “We hope that ID’s airing of this documentary will help spark informed dialogue about larger social injustices to ensure that White’s death was not in vain.”
White’s case was eventually settled in March of this year. The Justice Department and state prosecutors ruled out any criminal charges in White’s death. A forensic pathologist concluded it was possible for the gunshot to be self-inflicted even though White’s hands were handcuffed behind his back, according to the local district attorney’s office.
“Sugar Town” will air on Monday, August 6th, 2018 at 8 p.m. ET. It was produced for Investigation Discovery by Stephen David Entertainment.
Investigation Discovery bills itself as the leading crime and justice network on television, delivering the highest-quality programming to approximately 85 million U.S. households. Available in 220 countries and territories and 50 languages, ID delivers over 8,000 hours of original programming each year.