Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lafayette Officer on Leave After Video Shows Him Shaking Girl

The Lafayette Police Department has placed an officer on paid administrative leave after a video surfaced that showed him raising his voice and shaking a girl who was being detained.

The video was posted on CNN’s ireport.com, a site where the public can post their own stories and videos.

The footage was taken Feb. 16, Mardi Gras day, in the downtown Lafayette area and showed several officers handling an incident involving several young people.

The Lafayette Police Department was informed of the incident Feb. 19 at about 5 p.m., according to a news release.

Chief Jim Craft ordered an immediate criminal and administrative investigation into the incident and placed the officer on leave pending the outcome, the release stated.

Cpl. Paul Mouton, spokesman for the department, declined to release the officer’s name.

The department stated that it would offer no further comment until the investigation is complete.

Internal investigations typically take 60 days to complete.

The video was posted Feb. 17 and had garnered more than 2,000 views as of Tuesday afternoon.

The person who posted the video lists his username as “MEspree” and states in the synopsis that the police chased and tackled the teen and then shook her.

Police later attempted to arrest “MEspree” and take his iPhone, which prompted him to ask “Is this Iran?”

The video, which is more than five minutes long and was recorded with an iPhone, does not appear to show officers tackling the girl.

The video shows the girl sitting on the street talking and pointing around when the officer leans over and screams “shut up” repeatedly at her while he shakes her by the shoulders.

Afterward, another officer walks over and handcuffs the girl. She is one of three teens being detained by officers.

The man continues to film officers as they walk the teens through the parade barricades toward nearby police units.

Toward the end of the video, an officer approaches the man behind the camera and asks him if has video of the fight.

The man tells officers that he only has video of the arrest and then adds, “I’ve got a video of somebody tackling a little girl.”

Another officer approaches him and gives him a warning that he’ll be taken to jail if he continues to cause a disturbance.

“You can go ahead and put that in your video,” the officer says. “One more warning and that’s it.”

Afterward, yet another officer approaches and appears to reach for the man’s arm while informing him that he’ll get a receipt for his phone.

“You can’t take my phone,” the man says.

“You want to bet,” the officer says.

The video ends soon after while the two continue to argue over the phone.

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