Louisiana State Police have announced that Matthew Martin, an 18-year-old teen who hit and killed a black man on US 171 and allegedly called him “some n*****” after the fact, will not face charges.
Police made the announcement on Facebook that Martin will not be charged for hitting into 31-year-old Sherell Lewis Jr. with his pickup truck and killing him. They determined that Martin was driving at the speed limit of 55 mph and “decreased his speed” before switching lanes and hitting Lewis Jr.
“As Martin was nearing the scene, he switched his vehicle from the right lane to the left lane. As Lewis Jr. entered the right lane, he altered his direction of travel and began walking back towards the grass median. This action placed him in the direct path of the 2003 Chevrolet pickup,” police said. Martin was also found to have not been using his cellphone at the time of the crash.
The announcement that no charges will be filed has been met with outrage, in light of the way Martin allegedly responded to the crash on SnapChat.
Matthew Martin, of Hineston, Louisiana, after hitting & killing Rell Lewis w/ his pickup truck, posted on Snapchat that it was just "some nigger."
And proceeded to have a casual conversation about the damage hitting the nigger did to his truck. pic.twitter.com/beY9tII2W8
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) May 31, 2018
It reportedly began with Martin posting a video with laughing emojis the line, “Y’all i just hit a whole guy on the highway.”
A screenshot shows an ensuing discussion between an account in the name of Martin and an unidentified party. That’s where the words “some n*****” were used, it is believed, to refer to the victim. There are also images of a damaged Chevy (Martin was driving a 2003 Chevy).
“The guy die on impact or what,” an apparent acquaintance asks.
The response was “yes sir” with a laughing emoji and then “no he died otw (on the way) to the hospital.” The “yes sir” could have been in response to a previous comment.
According to the Daily Advertiser, Vernon Parish Sheriff Sam Craft said he was “appalled” by the comments, but that they are not a crime in the state.
“I am appalled at the content of the social media messages that were posted after the incident,” he said Wednesday. “This post is unacceptable and has no place in our society. The inflammatory words that were used were morally wrong.”
[Image via SnapChat screengrab]