Marijuana Joint Falls Out Of Dumbass New Orleans Assistant City Attorney Jason Cantrell’s Pocket In Court, In Front Of A Bunch Of Police Officers

October 3, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – It was business as usual Monday afternoon in the Orleans Parish magistrate court when an assistant city attorney reportedly made a mistake that could haunt him the rest of his career.

Jason Cantrell, the 43-year-old son of a magistrate commissioner, allegedly dropped a joint out of his pocket right in front of New Orleans Police Department officers, The Times-Picayune reported Monday.

Officers reportedly laughed as they escorted Cantrell out of the courtroom and wrote him a summons for simple possession of marijuana.

Marijuana possession in New Orleans is a municipal offense, so police can issue summonses rather than arrest wrongdoers.

A tipster who reported the incident to Above The Law says he has “suspected that more than 50% of the city — and its employees, specifically — are, at any given time, either stoned, drunk, or on a three hour lunch.”

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Innocence Project: Innocent Man Set Free After 15 Years On Louisiana Death Row – DNA Tests Totally Cleared Him From Rape And Murder Charges – 300th Person Exonerated Through DNA Testing

September 29, 2012

LOUISIANA – A Louisiana man who spent 15 years on death row for a murder he did not commit was released Friday from prison in an exoneration brought about by the Innocence Project.

“It’s been a long journey,” Damon A. Thibodeaux, 38, said during a news conference with his lawyers. “It’s people like y’all who give people like us a chance.”

Thibodeaux, who was convicted after falsely confessing to having raped and murdered his 14-year-old step-cousin, said he hopes law enforcement will learn from his case.

“Make sure you have the right person before you start a process of executing someone,” he said. “Because it costs a lot of money to go back and look at all of these cases again. If it’s done right the first time, you shouldn’t have to do that.”

Thibodeaux described as “surreal” his walk earlier in the day out of Louisiana State Penitentiary. “It’s not something you can prepare yourself for, because you’ve been living in those conditions for so long.”

Asked how he felt, Thibodeaux did not hesitate. “Free,” he said. “I feel free. I feel free.”

Initially, he said, he felt like giving up, but resisted the temptation. “The minute you give up completely is the minute you die,” he said. “Period.”

Thibodeaux said that he was looking forward to “peace and quiet … just concentrating on putting my life back together and moving forward.”

His court-ordered release came after DNA and other evidence exonerated him. Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul Connick Jr. agreed with Thibodeaux’s lawyers that he had confessed to something he did not do.

Connick “joined the Innocence Project and Thibodeaux’s other counsel in agreeing to overturn Thibodeaux’s conviction and death sentence after his confession to police was determined to be false,” the district attorney said in a statement.

“This is a damn good day at the office,” said Denise LeBoeuf, director of the ACLU Capital Punishment Project, who has represented Thibodeaux since 1998.

The case points to the need to abolish the death penalty, she said. “It doesn’t make us safer; it makes the pain of murder worse; and if we can’t figure out how to have a death penalty that doesn’t put innocent men on death row and innocent women on death row across the country, then we don’t deserve to have it. It is a human rights violation. We need to end it now.”

Thibodeaux was convicted of killing his relative, Crystal Champagne, whose body was found on July 20, 1996, a day after she left her apartment to go to a nearby supermarket.

More than 2,000 wrongfully convicted people exonerated in 23 years, researchers say

He was among a number of people who were interviewed by police. After some nine hours of interrogation, “he provided an apparent confession to raping and murdering the victim,” the ACLU said in a news release. Primarily on that basis, Thibodeaux was convicted and sentenced to death in October 1997, it said.

A decade later, his legal team gave evidence to the district attorney of Thibodeaux’s innocence and an investigation — which wound up involving hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of DNA testing, forensic evidence and interviews — got under way.

“The probe confirmed that Thibodeaux’s confession was false in every significant aspect,” the ACLU said.

Since 2000, six people have been released from Louisiana’s death row after being exonerated; in that time, three people have been executed, it said.

“What we were doing was searching for the truth,” said Barry Scheck, co-director of the Innocence Project, which is affiliated with New York’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. “We hope that justice is done and we find the person who really committed the crime.”

He said Thibodeaux was the 300th person exonerated through DNA testing.

Asked what might have led Thibodeaux to confess, Scheck said, “That is something that we’re studying and is part of the lessons to be learned here. That’s not one of the things that I think is probably appropriate for us to discuss at the moment.”

The case points to the need for police to videotape interrogations, according to Scheck. Had that been done in this case, “we wouldn’t be sitting here today,” Scheck said. “It’s a simple thing to do and it’s sweeping the country.”

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Baton Rouge Louisiana Police Officer Derek Jason Burns Arrested, Charged With Creating Fake Summonses Targeting People He’d Never Met

September 9, 2012

BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA — A Baton Rouge police officer is accused of falsifying misdemeanor summonses.

Police Chief Dewayne White said Thursday that his department’s internal affairs division began investigating Derek Jason Burns, 29, on July 3 after his supervisor noticed a summons that “just didn’t look right.”

Investigators checked it and four more chosen at random and found that at least four appeared phony, White said. The fifth summons is still being examined.

Burns issued the four false summonses between June 6 and July 26 to three people without their knowledge, according to the arrest warrant. It said the victims told investigators they had never come into contact with Burns or signed the summonses, and a certified forensic document examiner concluded that Burns wrote all four signatures.

“The possibility is great” that Burns falsified additional summonses, White said.

“This investigation is in its infancy,” he said. “There’s a lot more work to do.”

White said he would ask U.S. Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux Jr. to investigate whether anyone’s civil rights were violated if investigators determine that Burns wrote additional phony summonses and the majority of the victims are black.

“We will continue to police our own,” White said. “When a police officer commits a crime we will take action and we will take it swiftly.”

The Advocate reported that ( administrators wouldn’t speculate on why Burns allegedly wrote bogus summonses. However, officers often are paid overtime to appear in court for the summonses that they write.

Burns was booked into the parish prison Thursday on four counts each of injuring public records, forgery and malfeasance in office, and was released on $24,000 bond.

Burns, who joined the force in 2006 and is assigned to the prison transport division, is on paid administrative leave.

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Louisiana Federal Prosecutor Sal Perricone Loses Job, Faces Lawsuit Over Years Of Obnoxious Online Comments

September 6, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – Not content to go after suspected wrongdoers in court, a Louisiana federal prosecutor apparently spent years attacking them in the comments section of the local newspaper’s website as well. His online barbs, posted under pseudonyms such as “Henry L. Mencken1951,” “legacyusa,” and “dramatis personae,” were meant to be anonymous. Instead, they have cost him his job and made him the target of at least one defamation lawsuit.

According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the owner of a landfill that is the target of a federal probe got so fed up with Mencken1951’s comments on articles about him that he hired the famous forensic linguist James Fitzgerald to unmask the troll. Fitzgerald compared the comments to a legal brief by then-Assistant U.S. Attorney Sal Perricone, and found striking similarities, including the use of obscure words such as “dubiety” and “redoubt.” Perricone eventually fessed up and stepped down from his position, and he now faces a defamation lawsuit from the landfill owner, Fred Heebe.

A sample comment about Heebe from Mencken1951: “If Heebe had one firing synapse, he would go speak to Letten’s posse and purge himself of this sordid episode and let them go after the council and public officials. Why prolong this pain… .” Letten refers to Perricone’s boss, U.S. Attorney James Letten.

Now the saga has apparently inspired another embattled local figure to lash out against his online tormentors. Yesterday the Times-Picayune reported that an indicted parish president has filed a defamation lawsuit against a commenter who goes by the name “campstblue.” The suspected culprit? None other than Perricone, who, if the allegations are correct, also took potshots at a deputy U.S. attorney general who might end up having a say in deciding whether Perricone gets censured for his conduct.

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New Orleans Louisiana Police Officer Jason Giroir, Involved In Recent Shooting, Suspended Indefinitely For Online Comment About Thug Killed In Florida By Zimmerman – “Act Like A Thug Die Like One”

September 1, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – A New Orleans police officer under investigation in a recent police-involved fatal shooting has been suspended indefinitely without pay for posting intemperate remarks on an online news story, suggesting that a young man wearing a hooded sweatshirt deserved to die because he “acted like a thug.” Officer Jason Giroir posted “Act like a Thug Die like one!” on an online WWL-TV article posted Sunday about local citizens rallying to protest the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old Florida boy who was killed Feb. 26 while wearing a hooded sweatshirt and walking through a gated community.

Martin’s encounter with a gun-wielding citizen in his Florida neighborhood has become a flashpoint of national debate, hitting on contemporary issues of race and profiling, and a citizen’s right to bear arms.

After an online commenter named Eddie Johnson criticized Giroir’s comments as racist and questioned whether a hooded sweatshirt makes someone a thug, Giroir responded: “Eddie come on down to our town with a ‘Hoodie’ and you can join Martin in HELL and talk about your racist stories!:-P”

Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas announced the discipline Monday at a 3 p.m. news conference.

Serpas said Giroir’s postings caused him great concern and prompted an immediate suspension.

“To say I’m angry is an understatement. I’m furious,” Serpas said.

Serpas repeatedly stated that Giroir’s views do not reflect those of the NOPD.

Giroir’s wife also posted a similar comment about Martin — “He acted like a thug and died like one” — under the news story on the WWL-TV site.

Giroir’s attorney, Eric Hessler, said Monday that Giroir spoke to NOPD internal affairs investigators Monday and admitted to making the postings.

“His statement is, ‘Yes, I did it,'” Hessler said. “He certainly didn’t mean it as a racial comment, as an offensive comment, although it came out that way. He acknowledges he should have chosen better words. I couldn’t agree with him more.”

Hessler said everyone, especially police officers, need to “think before they type.”

The attorney said Giroir is not a racist.

“It was a boneheaded comment,” Hessler said. “He admits so.”

Giroir is currently under investigation for his role in a fatal shootout earlier this month in Mid-City. Two officers — Anthony Mayfield Jr. and Michael Asevedo — were severely wounded. Civilian Justin Sipp, who police say opened fire first, was fatally shot by police, and his brother was wounded.

The incident followed a traffic stop Giroir made early thatmorning on a vehicle that allegedly had a broken license plate light. Inside the car were the Sipp brothers, Justin and Earl.

After Justin Sipp began firing, Giroir and Mayfield returned fire, police have said. Giroir was not wounded.

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President Obama Ignored Storm Damaged Gulf Coast To Campaign In Ohio – Until Until Romney Showed Up In Louisiana

August 31, 2012

LOUISIANA – President Barack Obama was today forced to announce he will fly to storm-hit Louisiana on Monday – hours after Mitt Romney beat him to the punch by deciding to head there this afternoon.

After it emerged that Obama was still taking time to fit in a campaign stop in Cleveland, Ohio before checking out how clean-up operations are proceeding in the Bayou state, the Obama campaign abruptly cancelled that event.

‘In light of the President’s travel to Louisiana to meet with local officials and view ongoing response and recovery efforts to Hurricane Isaac, President Obama will no longer travel to Cleveland, Ohio on Monday, September 3,’ the campaign said in a terse statement.

Romney had changed his schedule to head to an affected town outside New Orleans while Obama, who has yet to visit the Tropical Storm Isaac zone, headed off to Texas to campaign.

Seven years ago, President George W. Bush was lambasted for inaction and incompetence in dealing with Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans and much of the Mississippi and Louisiana gulf coast.

Romney’s last-minute trip to New Orleans came as his wife Ann told CNN that swing women voters in particular had told her that ‘it’s time for the grown-up to come, the man that’s going to take this very seriously and the future of our children very, very seriously’.

He opted out of a joint campaign appearance in Richmond, Virginia with Paul Ryan, his vice-presidential running mate, to head to Louisiana.

The first day of the Republican convention in Tampa was cancelled as Isaac bore down on Florida and the Gulf of Mexico area.

‘Obama’s not a bad guy – he’s a bad President!’ Marco Rubio wows GOP convention as he introduces Romney

Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, who was on Romney’s vice-presidential shortlist, abandoned his convention speech to oversee storm relief.

A Romney aide told ABC News that Romney would ‘join Governor Jindal and will meet with first responders, thank them for their work and see areas impacted by the storm’ in LaFitte, Louisiana, some 20 miles south of New Orleans.

The trip to Louisiana was sandwiched between previously announced campaign stops in Lakeland, Florida, where he will be joined by Paul Ryan, and Cincinnati.

On a visit to Indianapolis on Wednesday to speak at the American Legion convention, Romney joked about the storm before expressing his concern.

‘I appreciate this invitation to join you on dry land this afternoon,’ he said to laughter. ‘Our thoughts are, of course, with the people of the Gulf Coast states.

‘We’re grateful that it appears Isaac will spare them from the kind of damage we saw during Katrina, but for many in the Gulf Coast who just finished repairing their homes and are getting a life back to normal, this must be a heavy burden.

‘So today our thoughts are with them, our prayers go out to them, and our country must do all we can to help them recover.’

In Lafitte, emergency crews were assisting victims of Hurricane Isaac, which hit the coast with wind speeds of 80mph on Tuesday and brought flooding to the area before it was downgraded to a tropical storm.

The storm, which is lumbering north at a pace of just 5mph, has claimed four lives in Mississippi and Louisiana, ravaged homes with as many as 18 inches of flood water, and left more than 900,000 people without power.

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Top 2 Henderson Louisiana Police Officers Arrested After Investigation Into Illegal Traffic Ticket Quota Scheme Paid For With State Grant Money

August 31, 2012

HENDERSON, LOUISIANA — The Louisiana Inspector General’s Office has arrested the top two officers of the Henderson Police Department following a yearlong investigation into an illegal traffic citation quota system paid for through state grant dollars.

The Advocate reports ( ) Henderson Police Chief Leroy Guidry and Deputy Chief Oliver Mack Lloyd were arrested Friday on nine counts of filing or maintaining false public records, nine counts of public payroll fraud, and one count each of malfeasance and criminal conspiracy.

According to the arrest affidavits, the investigation began in August 2011 after the Office of Inspector General received a complaint alleging officers were receiving illegal payments from the city for traffic citations issued on Interstate 10.

The complainant stated that officers who participated in the traffic enforcement program were being paid $15 for each citation written, and were expected to write two tickets per hour, amounting to a quota system. The payments were made through a state grant from the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission between the years of 2009 and 2011.

The affidavit says more than $16,000 in fraudulent payments went to officers involved in the program from the $189,000 state grant received by the city.

The town of Henderson received about $2.4 million dollars in fines and forfeitures, primarily from citations issued by officers, which accounts for more than 80 percent of the town’s overall revenue, the affidavit says.

State law prohibits a state agency, political subdivision or law enforcement agency to offer a financial reward or other benefit to a law enforcement officer based on the number of citations the officer issues.

The increased revenue from the citations also allowed town officials to authorize 100 percent payment of health insurance coverage for the police chief, the mayor and their spouses, the affidavit says.

Records indicate the town paid more than $15,000 in health insurance coverage for Guidry and his spouse from August 2010 and February 2012, the affidavit says, adding that this benefit is not offered to other town employees’ spouses.

In a February interview with Guidry, investigators asked him if the officers’ time sheets reflected hours they worked on the program.

Inspector General Stephen Street Street declined to say whether additional charges could be filed against other people as a result of the ongoing investigation.

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Fired Lafayette Louisiana Police Officer Kencil Joseph Arrested And Charged With Bogus Crash Report – Left Out Facts Pertaining To Unlicensed Driver

August 31, 2012

LAFAYETTE, LOUISIANA — A former Lafayette police officer was booked this week on criminal charges for allegedly falsifying a crash report so there was no mention of the unlicensed driver, allowing the man to avoid possible arrest.

Kencil Joseph, 28, of Opelousas, was booked Tuesday on charges of malfeasance in office and injuring public records and released after posting $1,000 bond.

Joseph was fired from the Police Department in May, Lafayette City-Parish Chief Administrative Officer Dee Stanley said.

The former officer has denied wrongdoing and has appealed to the Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board for reinstatement.

The investigation focused on a crash report from a February traffic accident in Lafayette, according to an outline of the internal affairs investigation in the civil service appeal file.

The driver of one the vehicles complained to police that the crash report listed the female passenger of the other vehicle as the driver and made no mention of the man who was actually behind the wheel, even though Joseph had allegedly been told the two had switched seats before he arrived, according to the civil service records.

The man and woman later acknowledged to police that Joseph was allegedly aware of the switch and had allowed the female to be listed as the driver because the male had no driver’s license and would have been subject to arrest, according to the civil service records.

Joseph denied knowing about the switch or even speaking to any male at the scene of the accident, according to the civil service appeal records.

Joseph’s defense attorney, William Goode, maintained his client’s innocence but declined to discuss the details of the case.

“Kencil (Joseph) was a wonderful police officer and did not commit this crime,” Goode said.

Stanley declined comment on the internal investigation of Joseph but said that he had worked at the department from April 2008 and was terminated on May 18.

If convicted, Joseph faces up to five years in prison on the malfeasance charge and up to one year on the charge of injuring public records.

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Louisiana Public School Giving The Boot To Pregnant Students Or Those Refusing Pregnancy Test

August 6, 2012

DELHI, LOUISIANA – In a Louisiana public school, female students who are suspected of being pregnant are told that they must take a pregnancy test. Under school policy, those who are pregnant or refuse to take the test are kicked out and forced to undergo home schooling.

Welcome to Delhi Charter School, in Delhi, Louisiana, a school of 600 students that does not believe its female students have a right to education free from discrimination. According to its Student Pregnancy Policy, the school has a right to not only force testing upon girls, but to send them to a physician of the school administration’s choice. A positive test result, or failure to take the test at all, means administrators can forbid a girl from taking classes and force her to pursue a course of home study if she wishes to continue her education with the school.

This is in blatant violation of federal law and the U.S. Constitution.

Today, the ACLU of Louisiana and the ACLU Women’s Rights Project asked Delhi Charter School to immediately suspend this discriminatory and illegal policy.

The policy’s complete disregard for Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded education programs and activities, is astonishing. Title IX and its regulations explicitly mandate that schools cannot exclude any student from an education program or activity, “including any class or extracurricular activity, on the basis of such student’s pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy or recovery therefrom.”

Besides violating Title IX, the policy is also in violation of the Constitution’s due process right to procreate, and equal protection: it treats female students differently from male students and relies on archaic stereotypes linked to sex and pregnancy.

Approximately 70 percent of teen girls who give birth leave school, due in part to illegal discrimination. Schools should be supporting pregnant and parenting teens that face numerous barriers to completing their education, not illegally excluding them from school. The ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project protects the rights of pregnant and parenting teens through advocacy, education, and litigation, working to combat the push-out of pregnant and parenting teens from school.

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Fired Jefferson Parish Louisiana Deputy Sheriff Robert Hoobler Arrested, Charged With Taser Weapon Attack

August 5, 2012

GRETNA, LOUISIANA – A former Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy turned himself in to authorities Thursday morning, two days after a warrant was issued for his arrest on a malfeasance-in-office charge. Robert Hoobler, 56, of Gretna was booked with the charge involving an incident in November in which Hoobler is accused of tasing a suspect multiple times.

Hoobler had arrested a person wanted for a violation of a protective order, said Col. John Fortunato, a JPSO spokesman. The suspect was handcuffed and put into the rear seat of Hoobler’s JPSO marked unit, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

“While en route to the (Jefferson Parish Correctional Center) and while driving in the 500 block of Cohen Street in Marrero, the suspect removed his seat belt, turned sideways and began kicking the rear door of the police car,” according to the Sheriff’s Office. “Hoobler stopped his police unit, exited the driver’s side and approached the rear door of his unit. It was at that time the suspect continued kicking the door, eventually breaking the window. Hoobler drew his taser while continuing to order the suspect to stop resisting. After repeated orders were ignored, Hoobler discharged his taser at the suspect.”

Hoobler reported the suspect continued to resist even after Hoobler used the electroshock weapon “on multiple occasions,” Fortunato said.

The suspect, who was treated for minor injuries consistent with that of taser probes, was transported and booked into the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center, Fortunato said.

On April 12 of this year, Sheriff Newell Normand ordered a criminal investigation. Hoobler agreed to meet Chief Deputy Walter “Tom” Gorman the same day. After Hoobler was advised of his rights and the charge against him, he invoked his 5th Amendment right and refused to provide Gorman with any details, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Hoobler was fired the next day.

A warrant for his arrest was issued Tuesday, following an investigation, Fortunato said.

Hoobler was credited with saving the life of Grammy-award winning rap superstar Lil Wayne. The musician, whose real name is Dwayne Carter, accidentally shot himself in the chest while playing with a handgun in 1994, and Hoobler helped rush the 12-year-old Carter to the hospital. Hoobler was awarded a life-saving pin for his actions.

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Former Lafayette Louisiana Police Officer Jackie Hagan Arrested, Charged With On-Duty Sexual Battery Of A Witness To A Crime – Department, Chief, And He Also Face Civil Lawsuit Filed By His Victim

August 4, 2012

LAFAYETTE, LOUISIANA – Former Lafayette Police Department Cpl. Jackie Hagan, now the subject of a civil lawsuit for allegedly sexually battering a woman while he was on duty, turned himself in to police Thursday morning and was booked into prison on one count of sexual battery.

Hagan, 34, of Sunset posted a $20,000 commercial bond, meaning he paid only 12 percent of that amount, and was released from the Lafayette

Parish Correctional Center on Thursday afternoon, according to Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt. Kip Judice.

Hagan pleaded not guilty to the sexual battery charge during his arraignment June 29. He is scheduled to appear before Judge Kristian Earles for a pretrial hearing at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 9.

On Tuesday, Hagan’s alleged victim, Pamela Harris, filed a civil lawsuit in the 15th Judicial District Court seeking an unspecified amount of money for an array of damages from the defendants in the case — Hagan, LPD, LPD Chief Jim Craft, Lafayette Consolidated Government and City-Parish President Joey Durel.

In the civil lawsuit, Harris claims she and a friend witnessed a crime in downtown Lafayette and called police to report the incident. Hagan, the first officer to respond to the scene, then allegedly insisted on giving Harris a ride home, despite numerous pleas from her and her friend.

During the ride home, Hagan allegedly began asking Harris sexual questions, which made her uncomfortable, according to the lawsuit. Upon arriving at Harris’s home, Hagan allegedly “opened Pamela’s door but stood in her way so she could not get past him.” Hagan then allegedly began fondling, groping and forcefully kissing Harris, despite her attempts to push him from her.

Harris was ultimately able to push Hagan off her, and she fled into her home, where she called several friends and her husband, Donald Harris, who called police to report Hagan’s alleged sexual battery.

Other police officers then responded to Harris’s home, and the officers took Harris’ clothes as evidence. According to the lawsuit, police testing found Hagan’s DNA on Harris’ bra, prompting police to arrest Hagan and charge him with sexual battery.

Hagan avoided arrest despite being arraigned, having a court date set and being the subject of an active warrant that was issued June 7. Judice said LPSO sent the warrant to St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office on June 12 because LPSO does not typically send officers outside Lafayette Parish to serve warrants.

Lt. Megan Vizena, a spokeswoman for the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office, could not immediately say Wednesday why officers hadn’t yet arrested Hagan.

On Thursday, Vizena said officers went to Hagan’s home on Wednesday, but he was not there. She said the officers spoke with Hagan’s wife, who then contacted him and explained to the officers than Hagan would turn himself in to police Thursday.

“At noon, they were going to send someone to get him, but he had already turned himself in,” Vizena said during a phone interview.

According to the affidavit for Hagan’s arrest, he turned himself into police at LPCC at 11:30 a.m. If convicted of sexual battery, Hagan faces as many as 10 years of imprisonment, according to Louisiana law.

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BROKE: 16 States Now Rationing Prescription Drugs For Medicaid Patients

July 31, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Sixteen states have set a limit on the number of prescription drugs they will cover for Medicaid patients, according to Kaiser Health News.

Seven of those states, according to Kaiser Health News, have enacted or tightened those limits in just the last two years.

Medicaid is a federal program that is carried out in partnership with state governments. It forms an important element of President Barack Obama’s health-care plan because under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act–AKA Obamcare–a larger number of people will be covered by Medicaid, as the income cap is raised for the program.

With both the expanded Medicaid program and the federal subsidy for health-care premiums that will be available to people earning up to 400 percent of the poverty level, a larger percentage of the population will be wholly or partially dependent on the government for their health care under Obamacare than are now.

In Alabama, Medicaid patients are now limited to one brand-name drug, and HIV and psychiatric drugs are excluded.

Illinois has limited Medicaid patients to just four prescription drugs as a cost-cutting move, and patients who need more than four must get permission from the state.

Speaking on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal on Monday, Phil Galewitz, staff writer for Kaiser Health News, said the move “only hurts a limited number of patients.”

“Drugs make up a fair amount of costs for Medicaid. A lot of states have said a lot of drugs are available in generics where they cost less, so they see this sort of another move to push patients to take generics instead of brand,” Galewitz said.

“It only hurts a limited number of patients, ‘cause obviously it hurts patients who are taking multiple brand name drugs in the case of Alabama, Illinois. Some of the states are putting the limits on all drugs. It’s another place to cut. It doesn’t hurt everybody, but it could hurt some,” he added.

Galewitz said the move also puts doctors and patients in a “difficult position.”

“Some doctors I talked to would work with patients with asthma and diabetes, and sometimes it’s tricky to get the right drugs and the right dosage to figure out how to control some of this disease, and just when they get it right, now the state is telling them that, ‘Hey, you’re not going to get all this coverage. You may have to switch to a generic or find another way,’” he said.

Arkansas, California, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia have all placed caps on the number of prescription drugs Medicaid patients can get.

“Some people say it’s a matter of you know states are throwing things up against the wall to see what might work, so states have tried, they’ve also tried formularies where they’ll pick certain brand name drugs over other drugs. So states try a whole lot of different things. They’re trying different ways of paying providers to try to maybe slow the costs down,” Galewitz said.

“So it seems like Medicaid’s sort of been one big experiment over the last number of years for states to try to control costs, and it’s an ongoing battle, and I think drugs is just now one of the … latest issues. And it’s a relatively recent thing, only in the last 10 years have we really seen states put these limits on monthly drugs,” he added.

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Louisiana State Police And Local Law Enforcement Suddenly Have Enough Free Time To Target Motorists With Dirty License Plates

July 31, 2012

LOUISIANA – Louisiana state police and local law enforcement agencies are telling motorists to clean off their dirty license plates.

State police say in a news release the motorists caught with their license plates obscured in any way, including by dirt, mud or frames that cover part of the plate, could be ticketed.

Louisiana law requires vehicle license plates be clearly displayed, as well as illuminated at night by license plate lights.

Col. Michael Edmonson, state police superintendent, says clean license plates can help citizens more easily report reckless or impaired drivers, as well as vehicles involved in criminal acts.

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Southern University Louisiana Police Officer Randolph Harrell Arrested And Suspended After He And Another Savage Black Beast Pointed Pistol And AK-45 At Man At Auto Parts Store – Previously Should Have Been Fired After Shooting At A Car Near His Home

July 28, 2012

BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA – A Southern University police officer may be asked to turn in his badge, and the 9 News I-Team has learned it’s not the first time.

According to a report by the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, Randolph Harrell, an officer at the university, got into an argument with a customer outside of an audio store on Plank Road.

Harrell was booked and charged with felony aggravated assault.

According to the arrest report, the victim, a customer at the store, said Harrell and another guy “pointed a dark colored handgun, which resembled a Ruger at him and the other unknown black male pointed what appeared to be an AK-47 at him.”

Store employees ran inside the store and called 911, but after deputies left they said the two men came back, parked behind the fence at a business next door and waved their guns out of their windows.

The report states, “at 12:13 p.m., deputies returned after a witness called back to report the accused passed back a second time … Pointing a gun out of the window.”

An hour later, a third call to deputies “to report the accused had passed again heading north on Plank Road and pointed the weapon again.”

“Whenever an officer is involved in such matters they’re called in and talked to and put on administrative leave,” Southern University Police Chief Ronald Stevens said.

After the arrest, Stevens said he sent internal affairs officers to Harrell’s house to let him know an investigation was underway.

“I take a misdemeanor arrest just as serious as I do a felony arrest. We are police officers, hired to enforce the law not break it and if I got out and break it then how is it that I can go out and enforce it,” Stevens said.

It was not the first time Harrell found himself on the wrong side of the law. Former Southern University Interim Police Chief Terry Landry said less than a year into Harrell’s job as a police officer, three years ago, he had to ask Harrell to resign or be fired.

“During the probationary period of his employment there was an incident where Mr. Harrell allegedly fired his weapon at a car he had some type of altercation with at his residence,” Landry said.

Landry said Harrell never reported the incident.

Current Chief Stevens said he rehired Harrell in April of this year. But not before doing a thorough background check. He said he called the Pointe Coupee, Tangipahoa and St. Helena Sheriffs’ offices, where Harrell worked after leaving Southern.

“That’s one of the first questions I asked, if they would hire him back and I got the nod that they would have and he was a good officer while he was there,” Stevens explained.

Landry said Chief Stevens never called him about Harrell.

“I’m just astonished that this young man was hired back because his patterns are laid out and if they had done adequate research… I know no one called me and asked what I thought about it,” Landry said.

Chief Stevens said he expects to know the internal affairs investigation to be complete in less than 60 days.

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Baton Rouge Louisiana Police Officer Jake Chustz Quits After Stealing iPhone From Accident Scene

July 12, 2012

BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA — Baton Rouge police say a 27-year-old patrol officer has resigned after being accused of stealing an iPhone from a car after it crashed and the driver was booked with drunken driving.

Cpl. Tommy Stubbs, a police spokesman, says the phone wasn’t in the car when the driver got out of jail. Stubbs says a tracking feature showed that its name had been changed to “Jake Chustz’s iPhone,” and the driver recognized the name as that of an officer who had worked at the wreck June 2. He filed a complaint.

Stubbs says Chustz was booked late Wednesday with felony theft and malfeasance in office, and resigned early Thursday. He had worked for the department for five years.

An online jail listing shows he’s free on $10,000 bond

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US Justice Department Attorney Rachel Hranitzky Threatened Reporter, Tried To Bar Quoting Or Recording Her Comments In A Public Hearing, Saying He’d Have To Leave The City Hall If He Didn’t Comply

July 12, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA — Two Louisiana congressmen are calling on the Justice Department to respond to a complaint that one of its attorneys tried to bar a newspaper reporter from quoting or recording the lawyer’s comments at a public hearing in New Iberia.

The Daily Iberian contends Justice Department attorney Rachel Hranitzky became “belligerent and threatening” after the reporter, Matthew Beaton, questioned why he couldn’t quote her comments during a June 12 public hearing about the New Iberia Fire Department’s hiring and promotion practices.

The newspaper reported that Hranitzky told Beaton he would be asked to leave the City Hall hearing if he didn’t comply with her directive.

“Then (the Justice Department) can call your editors and publisher at the paper, and trust you don’t want to get on the Department of Justice’s bad side,” the paper quoted Hranitzky as saying.

Sen. David Vitter and Rep. Jeff Landry, both Republicans, have asked the Justice Department to respond to a June 15 letter from Managing Editor Jeff Zeringue complaining about the reporter’s treatment.

Zeringue said Tuesday that he was still waiting for a response, but department spokeswoman Nanda Chitre says Hranitzky “never attempted to alter or stop a news story.”

“The reporter from The Daily Iberian not only was present for the entire meeting, but the newspaper published multiple articles related to the meeting using quotes attributed to a department attorney,” Chitre said in a statement.

Beaton was covering a hearing about a federal consent decree governing the city’s operation of its fire department. In his letter to Thomas Perez, head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division, Zeringue said Beaton wasn’t able to record his exchange with the attorney but stands by his recollection and reporting on it.

“We are appalled that the Department of Justice would attempt to prohibit or limit media coverage, or worse, attempt to intimidate U.S. citizens, at a public meeting,” he wrote.

In separate letters to Perez, Vitter and Landry asked him to cite any law or code that would have prohibited Hranitzky from being quoted during the hearing.

“I came to Washington to fight for an open, accountable, and transparent government,” Landry wrote. “I find it wholly unacceptable that our government, specifically the DOJ, has not responded to Mr. Zeringue’s complaint.”

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Shreveport Louisiana Police Officer Kevin Perry Arrested, Suspended, And Charged With Theft Of Drugs And Abuse Of Office

June 29, 2012

SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA – Shreveport Police officials have charged a Shreveport officer in connection with a criminal complaint received by the department.

Shreveport Police Department Sgt. Bill Goodin says investigators received information in mid-March that a police officer was possibly involved in the theft of some prescription medication. The offense allegedly occurred while the officer was working an off-duty job at Broadmoor Middle Laboratory School. Detective supervisors were immediately notified and commenced an investigation into the allegations.

Based on evidence gathered during the course of their inquiry, investigators obtained arrest warrants Friday afternoon charging 44-year-old Kevin Perry with misdemeanor theft and abuse of office in office. Perry surrendered himself to authorities at the Caddo Correctional Center and was booked in on those charges.

Perry joined the Shreveport Police Department in November of 1990. He has been on paid administrative leave since March 22nd and will remain as such for seven days following his arrest, as required by the rules and regulations of the Shreveport Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board.

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Former Gretna Louisiana Police Officer Wayne Williams Found Beaten, Tied Up, And Burned Near Burning Car On Texas Highway – Sounds Like BS

June 20, 2012

TEXAS – Authorities in two states are investigating how a former New Orleans area cop turned up stripped, bound and beaten in Texas last week after vanishing the day before from a Louisiana town some 800 miles away.

Wayne Williams, of Jefferson Parish, vanished at around 11:30 a.m. last Wednesday after calling his wife to tell her he was having car trouble on a trip to Baton Rouge, The Times-Picayune reported.

A tow truck arrived on Old Hammond Highway where Williams had told his wife he broke down, but found no sign of the 34-year-old or his car, the newspaper said.

One day later, deputies and firefighters in Texas responding to a car fire discovered the former Gretna police officer in his boxers and socks, dumped on a desolate highway near Tulia, Tex. — some 14 hours and around 800 miles away.

Williams’ hands were tied, and he had been beaten, burned and cut.

His torched car was nearby, according to local reports.

Authorities were investigating the incident as a kidnapping and arson.

Williams’ father told New Orleans’ WVUE-TV that his son was beaten and robbed by two men who stopped to help him after his car broke down in Louisiana.

Cops haven’t confirmed the father’s statements.

Williams was released from a Lubbock, Tex., hospital on Monday, but hasn’t made any statements about what happened to him.

A father of two, he worked for both the Gretna police department and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, and recently was a security guard at an auto racing track, according to WVUE.

The FBI and the Texas Ranger Division are also investigating the case.

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Dumbass East Baton Rouge Parish Louisiana Deputy Sheriff Shanequa Lovely Arrested And Fired After Forging Excuse From Doctor’s Office

June 17, 2012

EAST BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA – An East Baton Rouge sheriff’s deputy accused of forgery was arrested Tuesday, a sheriff’s spokeswoman said.

Shanequa Lovely, 22, had called in sick to work on Friday, Casey Rayborn Hicks said in a news release.

Lovely had excessive absences, so her supervisor asked her to provide a doctor’s excuse when returning to work, Hicks said.

Lovely turned in an old excuse with altered dates, Hicks said. The supervisor contacted the doctor’s office, which confirmed the forgery, Hicks said.

Lovely admitted to forging the note so she could have a paid absence instead of an unpaid absence, Hicks said.

Lovely was fired and booked into Parish Prison on one count of forgery, Hicks said.

Lovely had worked for the Sheriff’s Office since 2010 at Parish Prison, Hicks said.

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St. Mary Parish Lousiana Built $3 Million Convention And Visitors Bureau On A Swamp – Knew It Was On A Swamp – And It Sunk

June 16, 2012

MORGAN CITY, LOUISIANA – St. Mary Parish put up more than $3 million for a Convention and Visitor’s bureau. It went up with high hopes, but what happened Thursday, sank those very hopes.

“We had a catastrophic failure,” said Carrie Stansbury, executive director of Cajun Coast Visitor’s & Convention Bureau.

It’s what St. Mary parish officials had been wanting even before Katrina in 2005. Stansbury said they decided on the building to help boost the economy in Morgan City in hopes of keeping visitors in town.

“By slowing them down, we could get them to get another tank of gas. We can get them to stay overnight. We can get them to eat in our restaurants, and get them to create economic development in our community,” said Stansbury.

It was less than six weeks from completion when suddenly, “A painter was in there today (Thursday), and he noticed a crack in the sheet rock.”

That painter contacted an Aegis representative, who was on site.

“The guy came in. He said something doesn’t look right. (Told everyone) get out of here, and then it sank,” said Stansbury.

When looking at the building, there is a dip in the middle and a crack in the chimney. Stansbury said the Convention and Visitor’s bureau sank about five feet. She said the building was engineered according to soil samples taken at the site, but at the end of the day, they built on a swamp. Stansbury said they were very much aware they were building on a swamp.

“It’s very devastating. It’s like a death in the family,” said Stansbury. “This is an anomaly. They have no idea what could have happened.”

Engineers and architects are investigating, but no clear answer as to what went wrong. Stansbury said the project was bonded and insured.

Aegis representatives told WAFB, they had “no comment.”

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New Orleans Louisiana Police Officers Sentenced To Just 6 To 65 Years In Federal Prison After Opening Fire On Unarmed Citizens After Katrina – Department Wanted To Prosecute Two Survivors For Lying After Official Investigation Resulted In Report Full Of Lies

April 4, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – A federal judge Wednesday sentenced five former New Orleans police officers to prison terms ranging from six to 65 years for the shootings of unarmed civilians in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, prosecutors said.

The shootings occurred on the Danziger Bridge on September 4, 2005, six days after much of New Orleans went underwater when the powerful hurricane slammed into the Gulf Coast. The ex-officers were convicted in August on a combined 25 counts of civil rights violations.

U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt imposed the stiffest sentence on former officer Robert Faulcon, who was handed a 65-year term for his involvement in shooting two of the victims. Former sergeants Kenneth Bowen and Robert Gisevius got 40 years for their roles in the incident, while ex-officer Robert Villavaso was sentenced to 38 years.

The lightest term went to former detective sergeant Arthur Kaufman, who was sentenced to six years for attempting to cover up what the officers had done, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in New Orleans.

The men were accused of opening fire on an unarmed family, killing 17-year-old James Brissette and wounding four others. Minutes later, Faulcon shot and killed Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old man described by Justice Department officials as having severe mental disabilities and who was trying to flee the scene when he was shot, according to the Justice Department.

At the time, New Orleans police said they got into a running gun battle with several people. Prosecutors said Kaufman wrote the department’s formal report on the incident, which concluded the shootings were justified and recommended the prosecution of two of the survivors “on the basis of false evidence.”

During the trial, the defense asked the jury to consider the stressful circumstances the officers were operating under following Katrina. The shootings took place during a week of dire flooding, rampant looting and death by drowning, and police were strained by suicides and desertion among their ranks.

But U.S. Attorney Jim Letten said the prison sentences send the message that “when the crisis we face is the most threatening, that when the challenges are the greatest, the rules don’t go out the window.”

“In fact, that’s when the discipline, when the honesty of our public servants, our police and the men and women of law enforcement are most critical,” Letten said.

Romell Madison, brother of victim Ronald Madison, told reporters after Wednesday’s proceedings that his family was happy with the sentences, even though prosecutors had to enter into plea agreements with several other officers to obtain the convictions.

“I think it made a big difference, even though they did give them lower sentences, that they did come forth and testify to get the truth out,” Madison said. “At least we got to the truth.”

Five other officers, including a lieutenant, have already pleaded guilty and been sentenced to prison terms of up to eight years in the case for conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Letten said the plea deals were necessary to break a “logjam” that had prevented investigators to get the whole story of what happened on the Danziger Bridge, in New Orleans East.

The Justice Department brought charges after a similar case brought by local prosecutors foundered. Thomas Perez, the head of the department’s civil rights division, said the feds inherited a “cold case” when they took over in 2008.

“There were many, many New Orleans police officers who performed courageous, selfless acts of heroism in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina,” Perez said. “But regrettably, the acts of heroism of so many have been overshadowed by the misconduct of a few.

“What we learned in this trial — what we learned in these convictions — is that the Constitution never takes a holiday. The Constitution applies every day of every week, and no police officer can take it upon himself or herself to suspend the Constitution.”

The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division launched an investigation into what it called “patterns or practices” of alleged misconduct by New Orleans police in the aftermath of Katrina, which killed nearly 1,500 people in Louisiana and more than 1,700 across the Gulf Coast. Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas said Wednesday that his department “will continue to take bold and decisive actions to right the wrongs inside the department, some of which we now know go back seven full years.”

Mary Howell, a lawyer for the Madison family, said those promised reforms are “the most critical part in all of this.”

“This just can’t ever happen again,” she said.

Lance Madison, who was with his brother on the bridge that September day, told reporters that he is grateful that his brother had received justice. But he added, “I try to avoid the Danzinger Bridge, because when I go there, it just brings back memories of what I went through.”

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Four New Orleans Louisiana Police Officers Receive 38 To 65 Years In Federal Prison For Danziger Bridge Murders And Shootings Of Unarmed Residents And Following Cover Up Efforts

April 4, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – Four former New Orleans policemen convicted of shootings in 2005 that killed two unarmed people and wounded four others following Hurricane Katrina were given sentences on Wednesday ranging from 38 to 65 years in prison.

A fifth former police officer who did not participate in the shootings but engineered a four-year cover-up of the crimes was sentenced the six years.

The sentencing of the five men in federal court completed one of the last cases of police misconduct in New Orleans more than six years after the devastating hurricane flooded the city and triggered a chaotic aftermath.

Last August, a jury found former policemen Kenneth Bowen, Robert Faulcon, Robert Gisevius and Anthony Villavaso guilty on multiple charges including federal civil rights violations stemming from the September 4, 2005, incident.

Bowen and Gisevius were sentenced to 40 years each and Villavaso to 38 years by U.S. District Court Judge Kurt Englehardt. Faulcon was sentenced to 65 years.

A fifth officer, homicide detective Arthur “Archie” Kaufman, was convicted of covering up the crimes through a series of false reports and lies that continued for more than four years.

Another police detective charged with participating in the cover-up is slated for trial in May.

The five who were sentenced on Wednesday were among a dozen officers who responded to a radio call that police were taking fire near the Danziger Bridge in eastern New Orleans just days after Hurricane Katrina slammed into the city.

The officers packed into a rental truck and sped to the site. Witnesses testified that when the officers arrived, they jumped out of the truck and repeatedly fired assault rifles, shotguns and handguns at civilians walking on the bridge.

“The officers who shot innocent people on the bridge and then went to great lengths to cover up their own crimes have finally been held accountable for their actions,” U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Thomas Perez said in a statement. “As a result of today’s sentencing, the city of New Orleans can take another step forward.”

James Bresette, 17, and Ronald Madison, 40, were killed in the incident.

In reports filed by the officers or on their behalf, they claimed they shot only after being threatened or fired on and that they had seen weapons in the victims’ hands.

Kaufman was later convicted of planting a handgun at the scene.

During the six-week-long trial in 2011, lead prosecutor Barbara “Bobbi” Bernstein presented testimony from dozens of witnesses, including eastern New Orleans resident Susan Bartholomew, who lost her arm from a shotgun blast in the incident.

Witnesses included five police officers who earlier pleaded guilty to roles in the shootings or cover-up. Four of the officers testified for the prosecution, and all five began serving sentences that range from three to eight years.

Federal prosecutors and the FBI took up the case in 2009 after a previous case brought by the New Orleans district attorney was thrown out because of a prosecutor’s misconduct.

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US Secret Service Pisses Away Tax Dollars Trying To ID Woman Who Said “Pretend Its Obama” While Candidate Was Firing Pistol At Target On Shooting Range

March 23, 2012

WEST MONROE, LOUISIANA – Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said Friday that he will support the eventual GOP nominee, if it isn’t him, despite what he insists are similarities between front-runner Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama that make them indistinguishable on some issues.

“I will support whoever wins the Republican primary to beat Barack Obama,” Santorum told supporters at a police gun range in northern Louisiana.

Poised to do well in Louisiana’s primary Saturday, Santorum sought to explain his comment Thursday in Texas that Romney and Obama are so similar on the issues that Republicans might just as well vote to give the president a second term instead of casting their ballots for Romney.

Santorum argues that he is the only Republican candidate who can offer voters a stark contrast with Obama.

After testing his marksmanship with a .45 caliber semiautomatic Colt pistol, Santorum told reporters: “If you don’t have a choice, then a lot of voters are going to vote for what they have. That’s why we have to have a choice.”

“I’ve said repeatedly and will continue to say, I’ll vote for whoever the Republican nominee is and I will work for him,” he added. “Barack Obama is a disaster, but we can’t have someone who agrees with him on some of the biggest issues of the day.”

While Santorum tamped down one fire, a supporter in the audience added an off-message wrinkle. As he fired the pistol, a woman in the crowd shouted: “Pretend it’s Obama.”

Santorum was wearing protective ear muffs. He said later that he didn’t hear the remark but denounced it as “absurd.”

“It’s a very terrible and horrible remark and I’m glad I didn’t hear it,” he said.

The Secret Service, which provides security for Santorum, was trying to identify the woman.

“Typically, in an incident like this, we attempt to identify the individual, speak to them and then figure out what the next steps are,” said spokesman Edwin Donovan. “People have a right to free speech but we have a right and an obligation to determine what their intent is.”

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Jefferson Parish Louisiana Deputy Sheriff Dwayne Guynes Arrested, Suspended, And Charged With Domestic Violence After Attack On His Girlfriend – Sexual Battery And Other Allegations Are Also Pending

March 19, 2012

JEFFERSON PARISH, LOUISIANA – A Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office patrol deputy has been suspended after he was arrested this past weekend in New Orleans and booked on domestic violence charges. Deputy Dwayne Guynes, 34, an officer with the 2nd District in Harvey, has been suspended indefinitely as a result of his arrest, said Col. John Fortunato, spokesman with the Sheriff’s Office.

Guynes has been a member of the Sheriff’s Office since October 2007, Fortunato said. No details about his arrest were available Monday evening.

New Orleans police spokesman Frank Robertson said the incident occurred Saturday in the 100 block of Chartres Street in the French Quarter.

“He got into a domestic dispute with his girlfriend, and we booked him with domestic battery,” Robertson said, adding that no rape was involved.

But shortly after his arrest by NOPD, Fortunato said a woman contacted the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office to report that she had been a victimized by Guynes in Jefferson Parish and neighboring jurisdictions.

It’s not clear whether the woman who contacted the Sheriff’s Office is the same victim from the case in New Orleans. Fortunato did not reveal any details of those allegations, but said the crimes were sexual in nature and also included battery.

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Crazed Louisiana Lawmakers Ban Cash When Buying Other People’s Trash

October 19, 2011

LOUISIANA – Cold hard cash. It’s good everywhere you go, right? You can use it to pay for anything.

But that’s not the case here in Louisiana now. It’s a law that was passed during this year’s busy legislative session.

House bill 195 basically says those who buy and sell second hand goods cannot use cash to make those transactions, and it flew so far under the radar most businesses don’t even know about it.

“We’re gonna lose a lot of business,” says Danny Guidry, who owns the Pioneer Trading Post in Lafayette. He deals in buying and selling unique second hand items.

“We don’t want this cash transaction to be taken away from us. It’s an everyday transaction,” Guidry explains.

Guidry says, “I think everyone in this business once they find out about it. They’re will definitely be a lot of uproar.”

The law states those who buy or sell second hand goods are prohibited from using cash. State representative Rickey Hardy co-authored the bill.

Hardy says, “they give a check or a cashiers money order, or electronic one of those three mechanisms is used.”

Hardy says the bill is targeted at criminals who steal anything from copper to televisions, and sell them for a quick buck. Having a paper trail will make it easier for law enforcement.

“It’s a mechanism to be used so the police department has something to go on and have a lead,” explains Hardy.

Guidry feels his store shouldn’t have to change it’s ways of doing business, because he may possibly buy or sell stolen goods. Something he says has happened once in his eight years.

“We are being targeted for something we shouldn’t be.”

Besides non-profit resellers like Goodwill, and garage sales, the language of the bill encompasses stores like the Pioneer Trading Post and flea markets.

Lawyer Thad Ackel Jr. feels the passage of this bill begins a slippery slope for economic freedom in the state.

“The government is placing a significant restriction on individuals transacting in their own private property,” says Ackel.

Pawn shops have been forced to keep records of their clients for years. However under this bill they are still allowed to deal in cash.

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Appeals Court Upholds $25,000 Compensation To Elderly Man After Brutal “Attitude Adjustment” Beating By Hornbeck Louisiana Police Officers Kenneth Hatchett, Jr. And Andy Mitchell

June 6, 2011

Police in Louisiana slammed a 67-year-old man into the ground, arresting him over a questionable traffic violation. The state court of appeals ruled May 11 that Calvin D. Miller’s injuries were only worth $25,000 in compensation. Miller had been driving his big rig logging truck home to Florien on US Highway 171 at 5:30pm on July 13, 2007. As he passed through the Village of Hornbeck, Officers Kenneth Hatchett, Jr., and Andy Mitchell, 19, pulled him over because he began speeding up “about 100 feet” before the limit changed from 45 to 55 MPH. Having driven the road for the past forty-seven years, Miller was quite familiar with the speed limit. He insisted he was not speeding.

“I can see right now you’re going to need an attitude adjustment,” Officer Hatchett said to the five foot, six inch tall elderly man.

Miller punched his own fist, then turned his back on the officers and began walking away. They threw him to the ground, deliberately slamming his head into the concrete so he could be handcuffed tightly. After Miller’s wife bailed him out, Miller went to Byrd Regional Hospital where physicians documented the gash on Miller’s forehead, the swelling and bruises and the injury to his wrist and arms. His missed two weeks of work after the incident.

“You don’t turn your back on a cop,” Officer Hatchett explained.

Both officers denied knowing how Miller’s head came into contact with the concrete road shoulder. Eleventh Judicial District Court Judge Stephen Bruce Beasley did not find their testimony credible.

“Officers Hatchett and Mitchell had the considerable advantage of youth, height, weight and weaponry over Miller,” Beasley ruled. “There was no testimony that Miller, at any time during the altercation, brandished or was perceived to possess a weapon. Although Miller was attempting to leave the scene, the stop did not require taking him into custody.”

Beasley found the officers entirely at fault for Miller’s injuries and awarded him $25,000 in damages. The officers appealed the ruling, insisting they had full immunity from prosecution. A three-judge appellate panel rejected the claim and upheld the judgment in full, declining to adjust the damages up or down.

“The totality of the circumstances support the trial court’s finding that the two young armed officers faced little or no risks from Miller for his crime of ‘speeding’ (assuming it to be true) shortly before he actually reached the fifty-five-mile-per-hour sign,” Judge Shannon J. Gremillion wrote for the appeals court. “There is no error in the finding that the force used was excessive and not motivated by officer safety, but to adjust Miller’s attitude.”

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Veteran New Orleans Louisiana Police Officer Emelda Blanco And Her Police Officer Son Arrested After Bar Fight

May 26, 2011

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – The New Orleans Police Department today suspended two officers: Emelda Blanco, a 25-year-veteran of the force, and her son, a 3-year member of the NOPD.

In a press release, the NOPD says both “were arrested and booked today with one count of Simple Battery.”

According to spokesman Officer Hilal Williams, the two cops were arrested for their involvement in a “disturbance” early Sunday at Robertson’s Vieux Carre Lounge on Basin Street.

The mother and son crime-fighters reportedly instigated a fight that involved a security guard at the lounge.

Both are on suspension without pay “pending an investigation by the Public Integrity Bureau,” according to the news release.

The arrests and suspensions of the Blancos come on the same day that the NOPD fired a senior officer implicated in the Henry Glover case.

NOPD Captain Jeffery Winn, a 25-year veteran of the force, was fired “due to neglect of duty,” the police department said in a statement.

Winn commanded the New Orleans Police SWAT team and supervised two officers charged with burning the body of Henry Glover, a man shot by another NOPD officer after Hurricane Katrina.

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Fired Shreveport Louisiana Police Officer Morgan King Sentenced To 4 Years In Prison For Perjury

April 25, 2011

SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA – A Shreveport police officer fired for running away from a situation where fellow officers had to shoot an armed man was sentenced Monday to four years in prison for lying on the witness stand about his actions.

Caddo prosecutors, who obtained a perjury conviction against Morgan King, said the false testimony was part of King’s efforts to make his actions look better and enhance his chances of getting his job back.

Caddo District Judge Mike Pitman imposed sentence Monday morning and ordered King immediately taken into custody. He set bond at $100,000 if King wants to appeal his sentence.

King was fired over his actions that night. Video from the police car of an officer involved in the May 2006 shooting shows King delay arriving at the scene, then walk by the wounded man and the two fellow officers before running back to his patrol car and leaving.

Raymond Darnell was shot by police after he shot and wounded his girlfriend in front of officer. They in turn shot him.

The false testimony came during a hearing in which Darnell, who was convicted of attempted murder, sought a new trial, Assistant District Attorney Brady O’Callaghan said.

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