Eight Police Officers in Louisiana Face Charges of Excessive Force


When Chico Bell eventually stopped the Chevrolet truck he was driving as police officers pursued him in January, he and another man in the vehicle raised their hands in what a district attorney in Louisiana said in a statement was “an apparent attempt to surrender without resistance.”

What happened next, according to law enforcement officials, was a violent assault by eight police officers that left Mr. Bell with a broken eye socket and the other man who was in the vehicle, Damon Robinson, with his nose broken in several places.

On Monday, each of those eight officers, all from the Shreveport Police Department, was indicted on a charge that he had used excessive force. The charge carries a maximum possible penalty of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

According to James E. Stewart Sr., the district attorney in Caddo Parish, La., the episode began on Jan. 24, on Central Street in Shreveport, when officers tried to stop Mr. Bell’s truck because of seatbelt violations.

But, according to Mr. Stewart, Mr. Bell, 39, drove away from the officers, who then pursued him. Citing video from police vehicles, Mr. Stewart said that Mr. Bell threw several objects from the truck before it eventually stopped. The officers later said that they had recovered small amounts of ecstasy and cocaine and a stolen gun along the route of the chase, the district attorney said.

The chase, which took place in the early morning hours, ended about a mile and a half away, according to a lawmaker who represents the area.

According to Mr. Stewart, when Mr. Bell stopped the Chevrolet on Linwood Avenue, he and his passenger appeared to raise their hands through the vehicle’s side windows, apparently to surrender to the officers.

Mr. Stewart said that officers and one deputy from the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s office approached the vehicle. Then, Mr. Stewart said, the officers violently assaulted both men. Mr. Bell was pulled out of the vehicle through the driver’s-side window, before he was hit, kicked and shocked with a Taser by police officers, the prosecutor said.

Mr. Robinson, 43, who initially remained in the vehicle, was punched several times by one officer while others held his hands, Mr. Stewart said. Officers then took Mr. Robinson out of the vehicle and put him on the ground, the prosecutor said, and one officer hit Mr. Robinson in the face with a flashlight while his hands were behind his back.

The sheriff’s office notified the district attorney’s office about the deputy’s concerns with what had happened after the pursuit.

The eight officers were identified by the district attorney’s office as Aaron Jaudon, 29; D’Andre Jackson, 24; Mark Ordoyne, 25; William Isenhour, 23; Christopher McConnell, 35; Brandon Walker, 27; Treveion Brooks, 24; and David Francis, 45.

A spokesman for the Shreveport Police Officers Union did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment on Tuesday night.

A lawyer for Officer Jackson said in a statement on Tuesday night that “these officers were put in dangerous situation created by those who chose to engage in criminal activity in a high-speed chase.” He added, “We look forward to our day in court.”

Officer Ordoyne referred an inquiry to his lawyer, who did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment. Efforts to reach the other officers on Tuesday night were unsuccessful.

Mr. Stewart said the charges that had initially been placed against Mr. Bell and Mr. Robinson after the Jan. 24 stop were dismissed “due to unnecessary excessive force being used by S.P.D. officers to make the arrest.”

Mr. Bell had been charged with fleeing police officers, possession of controlled substances, obstruction of justice and cyberstalking. Mr. Robinson had been charged with resisting an officer. Efforts to reach Mr. Bell and Mr. Robinson on Tuesday night were not successful.

Ben Raymond, the Shreveport police chief, said in a statement that an investigation into the episode had begun on the day it happened. “All parties are innocent until proven guilty,” he said, “and in order to preserve the officers’ rights to due process I will not make any further comments at this time.”

Angie Willhite, a spokeswoman for the Police Department, said that Officer McConnell had been fired on May 8; that Officer Ordoyne had resigned on June 17; and that the six other officers were on administrative leave.

LeVette Fuller, a City Council member who represents the area where the episode took place, said in an interview on Tuesday, “There is a tenuous relationship with the police, and it has been that way for a long time.”

“I’m wondering how often things are happening,” she said. “I think citizens are telling us things are happening more often than we are willing to believe.”

Sheelagh McNeill contributed research.



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