I don’t know how many of you read Radley Balko’s site. Those of you who do will be quite surprised with what I’m about to share with you, others may or may not but I suggest you keep up with him if you’re interested in drug war/police militarization/law enforcement issues from a libertarian perspective.
A lot of you are probably familiar with the common refrain of “no wrongdoing was found” or “proper procedure was followed” coming from police supervisors in response to cases of police brutality. However, I have good news! I have discovered a case that will delight the hearts and minds of civil libertarians, and from Jefferson Parish, Louisiana (mostly suburban New Orleans) of all places.
“A Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s deputy has been fired after he repeatedly tased a Marrero man during an arrest last November and Sheriff Newell Normand said he wants to pursue criminal charges against the former officer. Deputy Robert Hoobler was terminated by Normand earlier this month after using his Taser on Leron Anderson at least three times.”
The story begins with a probably unsympathetic individual being taunted, reacting violently to his abuse, and then being subsequently tased into submission by the police. After which the deputy is cleared of any wrongdoing for following protocol.
Here’s the amazing turn though;
“The incident was reviewed by the Sheriff’s Office, which is protocol and no wrongdoing was found. But Normand said he became “overwhelmingly concerned” after watching video of the incident because he believes Hoobler used the Taser three more times than was warranted. It appears Anderson was tased four times.
Normand said he did not hear any racial slurs on the video, but he saw Hoobler issuing unnecessary warnings to stop resisting before firing the weapon.
“The video reveals clearly that he’s not resisting,” Normand said.
The sheriff said he believes Hoobler ordered those commands in an attempt to justify the tasing. Normand said he will conduct an internal investigation into why Hoobler’s actions were cleared of wrongdoing despite evidence there were problems. That investigation will commence after a criminal investigation into Hoobler’s actions.
Normand said his office has told the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office it wants to pursue criminal charges, and if that office declines to prosecute, he will forward the case to the FBI to investigate for possible civil rights violations.”
For those of you keeping score at home, the Sheriff didn’t just accept the results of the internal investigation, reviewed video himself, made note of the farcical “stop resisting” ploy used in many of these cases, is investigating the investigators, fired the deputy, is pursuing criminal charges, and will take it to the feds if the DA fails to do anything. Normand-7, status quo-0. Bravo Sheriff, bravo.