John Mitchell

Background

John Mitchell was one of three men who filed a federal lawsuit challenging the refusal of the parish registrar to allow them to vote. A few days later he was shot to death by a deputy sheriff.

The St. Landry Parish registrar, George C. Blanchard, had turned the three plaintiffs, Mitchell and Jacob Joubert and Joseph Donatto away when they appeared to register, whereupon NAACP lawyers, including Shreveport attorney Vanue Lacour, filed an action for injunctive relief naming Blanchard as a defendant.

On November 19, 1951, Mitchell was shot outside of a café by deputy sheriff David Lanclos, who claimed, according to a report in the Pittsburgh Courier (Dec 8 1951), that Mitchell was “acting boisterous and rowdy.”

Legal Status

Federal Judge Gaston Porterie dismissed the federal suit against the registrar. A coroners’ jury ruled the killing of Mitchell a justifiable homicide and no legal action was taken against Lanclos.