A former police officer is headed to prison after kicking a man in the face while under the impression that a fellow officer's body-worn camera was turned off in northern Louisiana, federal prosecutors say.
But the camera was recording as the officer kicked the arrestee, who was on the ground with his hands behind his back, according to court documents.
Afterward, Jared Preston Desadier lied to his supervisors and blamed the man for his injuries, saying he'd fallen during the incident on April 21, 2020, an indictment states.
A judge sentenced Desadier, 44, the former Monroe Police Department officer, to six years and five months in prison on Dec. 7, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Louisiana announced in a news release. This came after he agreed to plead guilty to one count of deprivation of rights under color of law, according to prosecutors.
Desadier's "decision to callously abuse an arrestee when he thought he wasn't being watched is an affront to the principles of honesty and integrity that our society expects from law enforcement," U.S. Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke said in a statement.
McClatchy News contacted Desadier's attorney for comment on Dec. 8 and didn't immediately receive a response.
Monroe Police Department Chief of Police Victor Zordan , who wasn't yet chief when Desadier was originally fired, said that he supports the court's decision in sentencing him, according to a statement he provided to McClatchy News on Dec. 8.
"Misuse and abuse of power will not be tolerated at the Monroe Police Department," Zordan said. "We are striving to rebuild trust in the community with our officers and egregious actions like Desadier exhibited make that more difficult not only in Monroe but across the country."
The victim, Timothy Williams, sued the city of Monroe, its police department and officers including Desadier and Zordan over the incident a year later in April 2021, court records show. That federal lawsuit hasn't been settled yet.
When asked about Desadier's sentence, Williams' attorney representing him in the civil case, Donecia Banks-Miley, told McClatchy News in a statement that they are grateful for "another step in the right direction."
"We have a long road ahead of us as we continue to fight in civil court, but we will not give up and will remain hopeful for justice for Timothy Williams and other police brutality victims," Banks-Miley said.
The case dates back to the evening of April 21, 2020, when Williams walked through downtown Monroe, court documents state.
Before midnight, an alarm system in the area went off and on-duty Monroe police officers detained Williams for an interview, according to Desadier's plea agreement.
At the time, Williams pulled out a fake plastic handgun and ran away after officers learned he also had drug paraphernalia on him, the plea agreement states.
When an officer chased Williams down, ordering him to get on the ground, Williams listened, according to the plea agreement. He laid "flat on his stomach" with his hands behind his back.
With Williams laying down, Desadier sprinted over and asked his fellow officer if his body-worn camera was on, prosecutors said.
When the other officer "mistakenly" said the camera was turned off, Desadier kicked Williams in the face, according to the release.
Desadier assaulted Williams "without justification," the plea agreement states.
According to Williams' lawsuit, Desadier's attack was more than just a kick in the face.
Desadier is accused of kicking one of Williams' teeth out before punching his body and pounding his head into the concrete, according to a complaint. It says Desadier didn't have his own body camera activated at the time.
The other officer present is accused of standing by and not helping Williams during the beating, the complaint states.
"The MPD has a history of not properly disciplining or firing officers when they engage in illegal or improper conduct, including excessive use of force and improper deadly use of force," the complaint also states.
Banks-Miley told McClatchy News that "we hope that cases like Mr. Williams' will set precedent for officers who choose to participate in unjustified, excessive force behavior against citizens and for those officers who choose to escalate situations by unnecessarily beating individuals just because they feel entitled to do so."
The city of Monroe is in northeast Louisiana, about 100 miles east of Shreveport.
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