In July 2008, Kennis Hagans drowned at a party in Algiers. At the party, Hagan, a RTA-employee, and co-worker Kory Dupree got into an argument regarding a previous brawl between black RTA employees and white New Orleans police officers. As the argument escalated Hagan pushed Dupree into the pool. Dupree then got out and pushed Hagan into the pool. Dupree then allegedly held Mr. Hagan’s head underwater for about ten seconds. As a result of this incident, the state charged Mr. Dupree with manslaughter.
At trial, the prosecution put witnesses on the stand who testified that Dupree intentionally held Hagan’s head underwater. However, the defense argued that Hagan’s death resulted from horseplay going terribly awry. The defense further argued that the prosecution made the tragedy much worse by seeking to prosecute the accident as a crime without legal support.
After considering all of the evidence, Judge Julian Parker deliberated only briefly before acquitting Mr. Dupree of manslaughter.