Monroe leaders call for police reform after the arrests of four Louisiana State Troopers
MONROE, La. (KNOE) - The recent arrests of four Louisiana State Troopers have reignited discussions about police reform.
Randall Dickerson, Jacob Brown, George Harper, and Dakota DeMoss each face charges of simple battery and malfeasance in office after an excessive force investigation. The Monroe-area troopers were arrested on Feb. 8, 2021.
“When you look at this particular case that we’re talking about related to Louisiana’s finest, we see that a trust has been broken because the people as we speak believed in the State Troopers because they are the elite of the elite,” Ambrose Douzart, President of the Ouachita Parish Branch of the NAACP said.
Investigators say the first incident happened in July of 2019 during a traffic stop on I -20 in Ouachita Parish. Troopers discovered suspected narcotics in the vehicle and placed the driver into custody.
After effecting the arrest, Troopers Brown and Dickerson utilized excessive and unjustifiable force on the handcuffed driver, deactivated their body-cameras, and reported untruthful statements regarding the alleged resistance by the suspect, according to police.
The second incident happened in May of 2020 following a vehicle pursuit in Franklin Parish, police say. Authorities say the driver exited the vehicle and immediately laid on the ground in a compliant position after troopers successfully deployed a tire deflation device.
Upon contact with the driver, Troopers DeMoss, Harper, and Brown utilized excessive and unjustifiable force during the handcuffing process and deactivated their body-cameras, according to investigators. Police say Brown additionally falsified the use of force report and arrest report and failed to indicate and provide video evidence.
The President of the Ouachita Parish Branch of the NAACP said change must start now.
“We need overhaul of law enforcement agencies. We need to look at them and see what their training is and what’s actually happening,” Douzart said.
The Executive Director of the ACLU of Louisiana said if you are a victim of excessive force, you only have a small window of opportunity to file a complaint.
“If you’ve had an instance of misconduct involving police, you have one year in the state of Louisiana. One year to bring a Section 1983 action,” Alana Odoms said.
Section 1983 provides a cause of action anytime someone violates your federal civil rights under the color of law, but there is a statute of limitations.
“It’s a huge barrier to individuals bringing forward these types of claims. Of the several hundred complaints we’ve received, more than half of them fall outside the statute of limitations because people just don’t know,” Odoms said.
Officials said it’s essential they continue to remain vocal and fight for people’s rights.
“Injustice has no eye sight. Injustice has no boundaries. We’re saddened to hear that arrests were made, but it has to come to an end. Some way somehow,” Douzart said.
KNOE has submitted a request to obtain all documents, video and audio recordings related to these incidents.
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