Fired Thibodaux cop accused of excessive force appeals dismissal. Hearing set for Feb. 8.




  • In US
  • 2022-01-17 16:12:54Z
  • By The Courier
 

A Thibodaux Police officer who was fired after being accused of using excessive force during an arrest is challenging his firing.

Online city records show that former Sgt. Paul Thibodeaux, 38, is appealing to the Thibodaux Civil Service Board.

The Civil Service Board handles internal matters involving city employees.

The board met last Tuesday and set Thibodeaux's hearing for 4:30 p.m. Feb. 8.

Thibodeaux was originally put on administrative leave after he was charged with malfeasance in office, injuring public records and second-degree battery, the Thibodaux Police Department said.

Following a hearing Nov. 17, Thibodeaux was dismissed from the department, officials said.

Thibodeaux, who has served with the agency about eight years, is accused of violating department policy and state criminal law while conducting an arrest Aug. 27, police said. Following an internal investigation, a warrant was issued for his arrest.

He was taken into custody Oct. 29 and booked into the Lafourche Parish jail, where he later posted $30,000 bail.

According to a report filed by Thibodeaux on the day of the arrest, a 22-year-old man was causing a disturbance about 1:20 a.m. at Rox's Bar, 200 St. Philip St. in Thibodaux.

Thibodeaux said in his report that the man tried to re-enter the bar after being told to leave. He approached the man and told him that because the bar is a private business he had to leave upon request.

The man, who Thibodeaux said appeared intoxicated, refused to leave and began arguing, the report says. After the suspect repeatedly refused to leave, he was charged with remaining after being forbidden and placed under arrest.

Thibodeaux said he handcuffed the suspect and placed him against a patrol car to conduct a search. The man "continuously attempted to push backward toward me causing me to have to hold him against the unit," the report says. "As I attempted to search (the suspect's) left front pocket he continuously pushed back against me and bent his left leg so that I could not search his pocket."

Thibodeaux said he told the man to stop resisting but the suspect continued to "push back" against him. After "escorting" the suspect face-down to the ground, Thibodeaux said he completed his search and put the man into the back of the patrol car.

The man "refused to put his feet all the way into the unit so that I could close the door," Thibodeaux wrote. "I then used my foot to push (the suspect's) feet into the unit and close the door."

More: Thibodaux Police officer arrested after department alleges he used excessive force

When the man arrived at the Thibodaux Police Department, an officer noticed a small cut on his right cheek, according to the report. However, the suspect refused medical attention, Thibodeaux said.

The man was additionally charged with resisting arrest and disturbing the peace.

However, an internal investigation later found several inconsistencies with Thibodeaux's report, Police Chief Bryan Zeringue later said.

"When comparing facts learned during the investigation to the actual police report submitted, some discrepancies were identified," Zeringue said.

"This is not just a violation of the law and agency policy but a violation of the community trust," Zeringue said. "Trustworthiness is one of our core values and a cornerstone that the culture of this agency is built upon. It was a promise that if something was ever identified that violated the trust of those we serve, it would be dealt with and the wrongdoer would be held accountable."

Civil Service Board Chairman Andrew Riviere said he would recuse himself from the case due to his close relationship with Thibodeaux.

Thibodeaux is being represented by New Orleans attorney Eric Hessler and the city is being represented by Danny Cavell of Thibodaux.

- Staff Writer Dan Copp can be reached at 448-7639 or at dan.copp@houmatoday.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanVCopp.

This article originally appeared on The Courier: Fired Thibodaux cop accused of excessive force appeals dismissal

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