Eight Louisiana police officers are accused of using excessive force against two men a prosecutor said had “raised their hands … in an apparent attempt to surrender without resistance” following a chase.
A grand jury indicted each of the Shreveport officers on Monday with a count of malfeasance in office in connection with the late January pursuit and stop of a truck that left driver Chico Bell with a shattered eye socket and passenger Damon Robinson with his nose broken in several places, according to Caddo Parish District Attorney James E. Stewart Sr.
Stewart said in a statement that charges against Bell and Robinson – including drug possession, flight from an officer and resisting – were dropped “due to unnecessary excessive force” during the arrest.
“The nation is going through a reckoning because, in the past, officers were too infrequently held accountable for bad policing,” Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins said in a statement. “While it isn’t pretty, this is the change citizens are demanding.”
Perkins said his administration has identified funds to have police body cameras in use by the end of summer.
“We are also analyzing existing funds to start a crisis intervention program that will allow counselors to help address emergency mental health calls,” he said. “Reform takes work, but I am committed to that work.”
Officers attempted to stop the two men for seat belt violations
The January 24 incident began when officers “attempted to engage” Bell and Robinson for apparent “seat belt violations” as they left a residence in a Chevrolet truck, Stewart said.
The truck did not stop and during a chase joined by other officers, Bell was captured by police vehicle cameras hurling several objects from the window, according to the statement.
Dash cam footage showed that when the Chevrolet finally stopped Bell and Robinson “raised their hands, and then stuck both hands up out of the windows of the truck, in an apparent attempt to surrender without resistance.”
Shreveport Police Department officers pulled Bell out through the driver’s side window, Stewart said. The officers “began striking, kicking, and tasing him to the torso and other areas of his body,” leaving Bell with injuries that included a broken orbital plate, the statement said.
Another officer punched Robinson multiple times through the open passenger side window. Robinson was then taken to the ground and struck in the face with a flashlight while his hands were behind his back, according to the district attorney.
A Caddo Parish Sheriff’s deputy at the scene later told investigators that Robinson did not resist.
CNN has sought comment from an attorney representing Bell and Robinson.
The indicted officers were identified as Aaron Jaudon, D’Andre Jackson, Mark Ordoyne, William Isenhour, Christopher McConnell, Brandon Walker, Treveion Brooks and David Francis.
Seven of the officers turned themselves in at the Caddo Correctional Center on Monday, CNN affiliate KTBS reported. They were released on a $7,500 bond each. Ordoyne surrendered Tuesday.
Sgt. Michael Carter, president of the Shreveport Police Officers Association, said the officers were surprised by the charges and were securing attorneys, the station reported.
Police Chief Ben Raymond in a statement said an investigation of the incident was launched on January 24, the day of the chase, and investigators turned their findings over to the district attorney on March 6.
“All parties are innocent until proven guilty and in order to preserve the officers rights to due process I will not make any further comments at this time,” the statement said.
The prosecutor’s statement said officers reported recovering “very small amounts of ecstasy, cocaine and a stolen gun that was found the next day along the route of the chase.”
Stewart said Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator first notified him about concerns over the stop based on his deputy’s report of the incident.