Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dangerous Attitudes Prevail in Local Police Community

There have been many alarming comments made via the Internet over the past several weeks by members of law enforcement and their supporters in response to police misconduct and brutality.  There seems to be a prevailing attitude among a small but vocal minority that the victims of police brutality and misconduct somehow deserved the abuse.

Specifically, Tim VanderPlaats somehow deserved the death threats and subsequent beatings because he is a "ladies man," and the wheelchair victim deserved being shoved out of his wheelchair because he has a criminal history.  Remarkably, some also believe the paraplegic deserved being toppled over because he ran into the cop's shin.  Erin Gardner deserved being yanked from the backseat of a car and slammed to the ground because she questioned authority. 

Citizens must send a strong and loud message that there is no room for these types of dangerous attitudes in our community.  These futile attempts to deflect attention from the bully to the victim do nothing but add to the shame of rogue cops.  In fact, the cops in these instances pose a greater threat to society than those charged with alleged crimes.

There is no excuse for police misconduct or brutality.  Whether the victim is an upstanding citizen or someone with a criminal history, police officers are commissioned to uphold the letter of the law with integrity.  When public trust in policing has been broken it is difficult to repair, and as long as rogue officers remain on the force it will remain beyond repair.   How can any citizen trust the local police when bullies with badges are still policing our streets?  Insiders may be able to distinguish good officers from the bad apples, but no one can expect the general public to know.   

What the public does know is that there are officers patrolling the streets who threatened to kill a man.  There are officers patrolling the streets who discharged their guns into private property after driving drunk.  They reportedly avoided arrest after a high ranking officer with personal ties to one of the offending officers ordered their release.  These officers arrest citizens for much less than the offenses they allegedly committed themselves.  They should not be above the laws that they arrest others for.

The damage caused by a handful of police officers is difficult to assess, but one thing is for sure.  The benefit of the doubt will no longer be given to the man with the badge when there are no video cameras to capture questionable exchanges between citizens and police officers.  We can expect a rise in requests for jury trials in the future.

Monday, July 14, 2014

LPD Faces Another Lawsuit After Officers Taser & Arrest Man Even Though He Repeatedly Invoked His Right to Remain Silent

Mark Bowers said he did his best to avoid the police last January, but officers apparently didn't like it when he invoked his right to remain silent after telling them that he did not call them and he had done nothing wrong.  According to Bowers they certainly didn't respect that right to remain silent.

One of several injuries caused by LPD tasering
Bowers said his civil rights were violated and that he has notified the City of his intent to sue the City of Lafayette, Lafayette Police Department, and three officers who were involved in the incident.  Officers M. L. Brown, Dobrin, and Cahoon were named individually in Bowers' complaint.

Bowers stated that he has initiated contact with the law firm that is currently representing Tim VanderPlaats as well as the paraplegic who was thrown from his wheelchair by an LPD officer last October and that he will likely retain them for the civil lawsuit in the near future.

Bowers said it began after his invalid mother became agitated with a homemaker who was sent by Area IV Council on Aging to help with light housekeeping.   Apparently Bowers' elderly mother was confused about the type of help the homemaker was required to provide.  The homemaker tried explaining to Mrs. Bowers that her duties did not include personal care, which she had expected, but that she could only provide light housekeeping duties.  The homemaker had been working in the kitchen with the elderly woman's son when Mrs. Bowers became upset and called the police.

According to Bowers his mother has a history of calling the police when she has become upset with various caregivers in the past while in nursing home care, so it did not surprise him when the police showed up on his doorstep on the afternoon of January 31, 2014.

"My mother called me from the other room to say someone was at the door," stated Bowers.  "I answered the door and was greeted by two LPD officers."

Bowers stated that when officers asked, "What can we do for you?" he replied, "Nothing, I did not call you."He said his mother spoke up to say she had called them, so he opened the door to allow the officers to speak with his mother. Mark then went back to the kitchen where he had been working. 

Mark said that when he attempted to get his phone from the office he was barred at the doorway by Officer Brown who had stopped him by bumping into him.

"He told me to back up and told me I was in his space," stated Bower. 

After telling the officer that he was in his own home Bowers said the officer informed him that he had no rights and he could do whatever he wanted because Bowers was not on a lease or owner of the home even though Bowers was the primary caregiver for his invalid mother and had lived in the home for two and a half years."

Bowers said at this point he did not argue with the officer.

"I backed up and stood at the counter with my hands at my side," said Bower.  "Officer Brown then informed me that I have history."  This claim was mentioned in the police report, which indicated that Officer Cahoon had informed Officer Brown via radio transmission that Bowers had "a history" with police.

Bowers said that he asked what he was talking about in reference to the history and then out of nowhere and without any warning the officer tried to grab him.

"I got scared and pulled away asking him not to touch me," said Bowers.  Bowers said he asked if he was being detained, and the officer replied that he was being arrested for assaulting him.  Bowers denied assaulting the officer and then says he submitted to the arrest once officers told him he was under arrest.

Bowers vehemently denies touching the officer and stated it was the other way around.

"Officer Brown then grabbed me again and threw me up against the counter and upper cabinets with my hands behind my back," said Bowers.  "At this point a second officer came from the living room and they both kept telling me repeatedly to stop resisting.  I was not resisting and kept repeating myself."

"They had my hands behind my back and then they told me they were going to tase me," said Bowers.  "I told them that I hadn't done anything wrong and asked them to please stop.  Over and over I pleaded with them to stop.  The officer repeated three times that he was going to tase me while all the time my hands were behind my back."

In the tort claim notice, Bowers claims that at this point Officer Dobrin pushed him to the center of the kitchen so Officer Brown could tase him again.  He said that Officer Dobrin used a stun gun in his side and thigh areas four times.

"The entire time I pleaded with them to stop, yelling to my mother to tell them to please stop," said Bowers.

Bowers said the officers ordered him to the floor and that he was unable to move his body due to the tasing.

"I told them I couldn't move," said Bowers.  "They threatened they would tase me again."

Bowers said that after he was able to get down on the floor Officer Brown jumped in the air landing down on his back with his knee while also pushing his head to the floor while still telling him to stop resisting even though he was unable to resist.

"I could not breathe with his knee in my back, because when he came down on me he knocked the wind out of me in addition to the effects of the tasing and stun gun," said Bowers.

Bowers said that as he was being escorted from his home, his invalid mother became upset and pleaded with the officers not to take her son.  She reportedly told the officers that her son had done nothing wrong and that he was her sole caretaker and that she could not be left alone.

Police officers left an invalid elderly woman alone without any care when they took her son away.

As Mark was being taken out of the home to be transported, the officers observed another individual and asked how long he had been there and who he was talking to via the speaker phone.  The witness told the officers he was talking to the Care Link Operator.   Mark's mother had activated her Care Link alarm to report alleged police abuse and the witness was reportedly telling the operator that the police had beaten his friend up.  At this point, the officers reportedly ordered Mrs. Bowers and the witness to "hang it up!"  They then asked where the individual came from.  The witness told the officers he had been there the entire time and witnessed all of it.  Mark says the conversation was recorded by Care Link.

The officers made no mention of this witness or phone call in their police reports, which Mark says are full of inaccuracies and inconsistencies in comparison.  The officer's reports did, however, admit that Bowers had told them he did not wish to speak with them during the ordeal.

One report refers to the Area IV homemaker as Mark's girlfriend; however, this is not true according to Bowers.  He says he did not know the woman outside of her professional role as a service provider.  Bowers was and is currently engaged to his fiance' (pictured).

Mark Bowers with his fiance
"[The housekeeper] was there to provide housekeeping services to my mom," Mark said.  "It was the housekeeper my mom was upset with, not me, and I told the officers repeatedly that I did not wish to speak to them, which is my right.  That's when they got mad and started badgering me.  I did nothing to deserve any of it."

So once again the public is left wondering whether these officers could have de-escalated a tense situation rather than attempt to badger someone who they had already pre-determined to have "a history with police." 

Mark says his only history is that he does not talk to the police and will exercise his right to remain silent due to the history of LPD and their excessive force against private citizens.

Gone are the days where citizens automatically give police officers the benefit of the doubt.  There has been plenty of evidence of police officers, locally and from around the country, abusing their power.

What did these officers accomplish?  Taxpayers get to foot the bill for yet another lawsuit.  An elderly invalid was left alone to fend for herself.  This situation could have been avoided had the officers respected the wishes of a citizen to exercise his right to remain silent.  The cockiness of these officers to get into the face and space of someone who had committed no crime is indefensible.   It's about time that the entire LPD police force take a remediation course in constitutional rights.

LPD leadership must take a serious look at requiring police officers to wear body cameras as a way to protect citizens and good police officers.  This practice has been known to decrease excessive force use by 70%.  Rather than spend money defending against lawsuits, wouldn't it be wiser to purchase body cameras for officers?

We know there are good officers at the Lafayette Police Department; however, these continual cases alleging police brutality are giving the entire department a bad name.  



Friday, July 11, 2014

No Trust in LPD: Allegations that LPD Cops Avoided Arrest After Shooting Up Private Property While Out Drinking and Driving; Charges Dropped Against Gardner

Our city made world wide news recently after a video of a Lafayette police officer knocking a paraplegic out of a wheelchair began circulating.  It became a sensational news item because there was videotape footage of the incident.  Seeing really is believing.  Aside from the friends and family of the former police lieutenant, most people were shocked by what they saw and rightly condemned the actions.

Lafayette is quickly becoming known for its bad boy police force.  Earlier this year details about death threats against Tim VanderPlaats and his subsequent beating were released to the public via court documents.

In addition, Andrew Phillips filed a lawsuit against the City of Lafayette and its police department alleging excessive force was used against him.   Phillips also says that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated.

Resisting arrest charges were dropped against Gardner
Erin Gardner was slammed to the ground in brute fashion by a burly LPD officer.  The dash cam video was made public via this blog.   Gardner was merely a passenger in the backseat of a car that had reportedly touched the center line as the driver swerved slightly to avoid hitting a parked car.  (The Indiana Court of Appeals has recently ruled that crossing the center line to avoid an accident is allowable.)

LPD Officer Jeffrey Webb used this as an excuse to initiate a traffic stop and began harassing Gardner for her identification.  Gardner tried explaining to the officer that she did not have a driver's license with her and she recited her Social Security number several times in an attempt to identify herself.

After Gardner raised the probable cause issue, Webb told her she wasn't wearing a seatbelt even though there was no possible way for the officer to see whether or not she had been wearing one prior to the stop. 

Gardner was subsequently charged with resisting arrest; however, that particular count was recently dropped by the prosecutor, presumably because of a recent unanimous Indiana Supreme Court ruling that determined passive resistance does not constitute resisting arrest.

Editor's Note:  Many readers have questioned the date stamp in Gardner's photo.  It's a fair question and simple to answer.  Apparently the officer did not set the camera's date stamp correctly.  It appears that even the evidence handling was bungled by the bully officer. 

Is There Another Lawsuit Coming?

Another citizen has suggested he soon will give the City of Lafayette and the LPD notice of his intention to file a tort action against the agencies for claims that two officers used excessive force and violated his constitutional rights when they arrested and tasered him and later charged him with resisting arrest last January in his home.  The LCJ will bring details of that story as they emerge.

LPD OFFICERS ALLEGEDLY FIRED GUNS AT PRIVATE PROERTY WHILE OFF DUTY & INTOXICATED SAY INSIDERS

It has also been reported by department insiders, but never made public, that at least two LPD officers were disciplined for using their guns in the destruction of private property in rural Tippecanoe County at the home of a private resident.  Insiders say the officers had been drinking and driving when the incident occurred but that they were not on duty at the time.  These same officers reportedly still work for the department.

The gun firing incident was allegedly reported to the police; however, none of the officers were arrested according to insiders, because another high-ranking officer from an adjoining police agency reportedly ordered that they be driven home and released.   Some inside the department were reportedly stunned that the officers involved in the alleged crimes were not terminated from their employment as police officers. 

So is it any wonder that members of the public have a difficult time trusting the local police?  How can an average citizen distinguish the good officers from the bad?  How can anyone blame the average citizen for feeling dismayed by it all?

The tarnished image of a city's police force hurts everyone, including the good officers on the force who do their jobs with distinction.  These incidents and others have caused many in the community to lose faith in its police force.  There is something seriously wrong when law-abiding citizens are as scared of the police as they are the gang members that roam our once safe city.

Another question being asked by citizens is why was Tom Davidson recommended for termination, but the rogue officers involved in threatening a private citizen with death able to avoid similar consequences?  Was the difference a video?   And why are officers still wearing badges after allegedly driving drunk and destroying private property with police-issued guns?

Until all of the officers in question are off the force, don't expect the public image of the LPD to improve, and most of all, don't expect the community watchdogs to go away.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Indiana Supreme Court Overturns Man's Conviction for Resisting Arrest After Refusing IMPD Police Order to Stop

The Indiana Supreme court threw out Keion Gaddie's conviction for Resisting Law Enforcement after unanimously concluding that police did not have probable cause to detain the man.  This decision will likely change the way police officers throughout the state conduct themselves in situations where no crimes have been committed.   In many jurisdictions; however, police officers are not properly trained, so citizens must be diligent in understanding their rights when dealing with law enforcement.

"To avoid conflict with the Fourth Amendment, Indiana code section 35-44.1-3-1(a)(3), the statute defining the offense of Resisting Law Enforcement by fleeing after being ordered to stop must be construed to require that a law enforcement officer's order to stop be based on reasonable suspicion or probable cause.  Under the facts and circumstances of this case, a reasonable trier of fact could not have found that the officer's order to stop was based on such probable cause or reasonable suspicion.  The evidence was thus insufficient to convict the defendant of the crime of Resisting Law Enforcement by fleeing a police order to stop.  We reverse the judgment of the trial court," read the conclusion.

It all began on August 4, 2012 when IMPD Officer Jeffery Newlin responded to a report of a "disturbance" at an Indianapolis residence.  When the officer arrived he saw about eight people, including the defendant, standing on the front porch walking along a side yard toward the back.  Officer Newlin ordered the group to return to the front yard so he could watch them until back-up arrived; however, Gaddie continued walking toward an alley.  Officer Newlin followed him, screaming at him to stop; however, Gaddie continued to walk ignoring the commands of the officer.

Gaddie was charged with Resisting Law Enforcement by fleeing even though the officer admitted that he had not seen the defendant or anyone else commit a crime prior to ordering Gaddie to stop.  The defendant testified that he lived at the residence where the incident occurred.  The trial court found the defendant guilty at the bench trial.

The Indiana Court of Appeals overturned the conviction, and the IMPD asked the Indiana Supreme Court to hear the case.  The Indiana Supreme Court justices unanimously sided with the Indiana Court of Appeals in deciding that Gaddie's arrest was not warranted since he committed no crime and was under no obligation to obey the commands of the police officer to stop.

"We note that the evidence clearly establishes that the defendant disregarded and walked away from a law enforcement officer who had adequately identified himself.  Because the defendant's argument focuses on whether the defendant had a duty to stop, we view his claim as alleging insufficient evidence to prove the element "after the officer has ... ordered the person to stop," wrote Justice Brent Dickson.

"The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that the right of the people to be secure in their persons against unreasonable search and seizure shall not be violated...At minimum, the government's seizure of a citizen must rest on specific, articulable facts that lead an officer to reasonably suspect that criminal activity is afoot."

Later in the decision, Justice Dickson writes, "A person's well-established freedom to walk about is thus violated when that person is subjected to a statute that makes it a criminal offense to decline a police order to stop.  To hold that a citizen may be criminally prosecuted for fleeing after being ordered to stop by a law enforcement officer lacking reasonable suspicion or probable cause to command such an involuntary detention would undermine longstanding search and seizure precedent that establishes the principle that an individual has a right to ignore police and go about his business."

"We agree with the State that the language of the Resisting Law Enforcement statute, on its face, does not expressly require that the order to stop by lawful.  Literally applied, however, the 'after the officer has ... ordered the person to stop' element of the statute, if applied in the absence of probable cause or reasonable suspicion, constitutes an unreasonable detention and impairs a citizen's 'right to ignore the police and go about his business..."

We hope that police department leaders throughout Indiana will educate all Indiana police officers about this ruling so that fundamental rights of unsuspecting citizens will no longer be violated, because of a perceived conflict between a mere statute of the state and that of the United States constitution.

This apparent conflict occurs too often throughout our state.

You can read the entire ruling at this link.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Indiana Court of Appeals Overturns Conviction For Resisting Arrest; Says Passive Resistance Does Not Equal Forcible Resistance

The Indiana Court of Appeals recently overturned the resisting arrest conviction of a Lake County woman, which appears to be good news for Erin Gardner, the local woman who was arrested by LPD Officer Jeffrey Webb last year during a minor traffic stop.   Webb was caught on camera as he violently yanked Gardner from the back seat of her friend's vehicle.  (See Lafayette Woman Seeks Jury Trial)

Gardner says she was injured by Officer Jeffrey Webb
Gardner was injured in the process. During the verbal exchange, Gardner questioned Webb's demands that she provide a driver's license since she was merely a passenger and had not commited a crime.  She was subsequently charged with failure to identify and resisting arrest even though she provided her social security number and date of birth during the traffic stop. 

Gardner claims she did not resist arrest, nor did she refuse to identify herself and that she looks forward to her day in court.

After Gardner went public with her story via this blog, prosecutors added an additional charge of marijuana possession, which she says amounts to malicious prosecution.  Gardner had an empty container with marijuana residue in her possession, which was found during an invasive body search.  

In light of the appeals court's recent ruling, it is questionable as to whether the charges against Gardner would stand a constitutional challenge.   Lawyers have indicated that since the resisting charge was improper the subsequent charges should also be dismissed.  Gardner says she has been in contact with attorneys at the Indiana Civil Liberties Union, and that they are currently reviewing her case after initially receiving positive feedback.

Lafayette native Judge Margaret Robb wrote the majority opinion for the Lake County case and stated that "a mere refusal to stand or some other act of passive resistance does not amount to forcible resistance."

Maddox Macy, the Lake County defendant, was arrested by Officer Roger Bowland after the woman began yelling at him, demanding answers and exclaiming that her dogs had not bitten anyone after one of her neighbors made the claim.  Macy was warned several times by the officer to calm down or she would be arrested.

"Macy's hands were handcuffed behind her back, and Officer Bowland placed Macy in the front seat of his police car and shut the door," read a portion of Robb's ruling.  "Macy somehow opened the door, got out of the car, and began yelling once again.  Officer Bowland 'had to force [Macy] into the car and she sat down and kept her feet out on the ground...'  Officer Bowland asked Macy to place her feet inside the vehicle, but she refused, so the officer 'had to pick her feet up, put her feet into the car and shut the door."

Officr Bowland stated that Macy resisted his commands and would not get back into the car.

"She refused and I had to place her in the car and then she wouldn't put her feet into the car.  I had to place her feet into the car," stated Bowland.

Macy was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting law enforcement.  She was found guilty after a bench trial was held.

In the ruling, Robb noted that the Indiana Supreme Court "has noted that the statute 'does not demand complete passivity.'"

"Merely walking away from a law-enforcement encounter, leaning away from an officer's grasp, or twisting and turning a little bit against an officer's actions do not establish 'forcible' resistance."

The ruling also noted an earlier decision by the Indiana Supreme Court wherein the justices overturned a juvenile adjudication "for resisting law enforcement after concluding there was not sufficient evidence the juvenile forcibly resisted."  In that case, the juvenile "began to resist and pull away" from a school liaison officer who grabbed him by the arm and attempted to handcuff him.

Robb cited several Indiana Supreme Court rulings, which she relied on for her decision to overturn Macy's conviction.
 
"The [Indiana Supreme] court opined that a mere refusal to stand or some other act of passive resistance does not amount to forcible resistance," wrote Robb.

"The court also noted that an officer's use of force in response to passive resistance is not evidence of forcible resistance."

It is clear to this writer and many others who reviewed the video footage that Gardner did not resist arrest.  After being harassed to provide a driver's license that she did not legally have to provide, she was violently yanked from the passenger's seat.  Gardner did nothing wrong.  There was no probable cause to even question this woman.  The car was at a complete stop before any officer approached, so there was no possible way for them to know whether or not Gardner was wearing a seatbelt when the car was in motion.

We find it appalling that Prosecutor Pat Harrington is wasting tax dollars to pursue this bogus case. 

Jeffrey Webb and his cohorts should be reprimanded for their deplorable actions.  There are several LPD officers who should be sent to remediation school to brush up on the constitution.

Stop the madness, Pat!
 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tippecanoe County Lawyers Manuever Behind Scenes to Thwart Candidacy of Les Meade as Multiple Disciplinary Complaints Allegedly Pending

Meade is not well-liked at the courthouse.
Judge Les Meade didn't have long to celebrate his primary win for Tippecanoe County Circuit Court Judge.  Post election maneuvering by a large group of local attorneys resulted in a bold general election political challenge by current and outgoing Superior Court Judge Tom Busch who was originally slated to retire at the end of the year.  At the urging of many Republican and Democrat attorneys, Busch decided to toss his hat into the ring and put off retirement a bit longer. 

Originally appointed by former Governor Frank O'Bannon, Busch went on to earn a stellar reputation as Superior Court Judge and was handily elected to two subsequent terms by Democrats and Republicans who found him to be fair, polite, honest, and most importantly, non-partisan. 

Readers can find the sanitized version about Busch's last minute change of plans at this link.

The real reasons for Busch's challenge against Meade have not been publicly stated, due in part, to the fact that conduct rules for attorneys prohibit them from speaking out against judges  -- even very controversial ones like Les Meade.

The political grapevine has been ripe with chatter, though, since Busch made his stunning announcement.  Interestingly, many behind-the-scenes comments have been very candid.

Meade has been described by local attorneys as "arrogant" and a "bully" and also someone who is "very difficult to get a long with."  Meade has also allegedly threatened lawyers and police officers with whom he has disagreed with jail time.

A common complaint has been that Meade reportedly makes disparaging comments about other judges and lawyers while on the record and in front of clients.  Attorneys have reported that several disciplinary complaints have been filed against Meade for this type of alleged misconduct, and some of those complaints are presently pending with the Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission.

Meade was involved in a controversy involving a disabled war veteran who had lost a leg and suffered from post traumatic stress syndrome as a result of horrific combat he experienced in which some of his friends were killed.

Prosecutors had worked out a plea agreement with the disabled veteran after he shot his firearm in the air during a dispute.  Meade rejected the plea and went so far as to send an email to the attorney indicating the veteran's decision to exercise his constitutional right to trial reflected upon his character and lack of remorse.

Meade showed no mercy toward the veteran and went so far as to tell the young man that he was the only judge in Tippecanoe County who was not sympathetic at the loss of a limb.  Onlookers were stunned by Meade's calloused remarks as well as the audacity to compare himself to a war veteran-amputee.

The defendant-veteran chose to pursue a jury trial and was acquitted of the felony charges against him despite Meade's best efforts to prosecute him from the bench.

It wasn't the first time Meade attempted to punish a defendant for exercising constitutional rights.

Another defendant who chose to exercise his right to a jury trial for a first-time misdemeanor offense was chastised by Meade after a jury found him guilty.  Again, Meade rejected the prosecutor's recommendation that the defendant be sentenced to three months of unsupervised probation since it was a first-time, minor offense. 

Meade sentenced the man to six months in jail after giving him a verbal lashing for "wasting his valuable court time with a jury trial" and for "failing to testify on his behalf" during the trial.  Onlookers were stunned that Meade would punish a citizen for exercising fundamental, constitutional rights.

A formal complaint was sent to the Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission afterwards and Meade was forced to withdraw his harsh sentence. 

"It doesn't appear that the experience has taught him anything about constitutional rights of American citizens," commented one local attorney when asked about the case.

Local attorneys are also concerned about Meade's lack of qualifications citing the fact that Circuit Court is a high profile court involving murder cases.

"Les Meade hasn't handled a single murder case as a lawyer or a judge," commented a local attorney.  "He hasn't had the proper training, nor does he have an ounce of experience for that type of case."

If these complaints make it to the ears of voters, Meade may have a difficult time on election night in November.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

High Ranking LPD Officer Demoted & Suspended for Conduct Unbecoming to An Officer; Inside Sources Claim Quadraplegic Knocked From Wheelchair

J&C: Lt. Tom Davidson was suspended from the LPD.
The Journal & Courier is reporting that Lt. Tom Davidson of the Lafayette Police Department was disciplined by the Civil Service Commission today after determining that the detective engaged in conduct unbecoming of an officer last fall.

The members also voted 3-2 against a second allegation that Davidson used excessive force during an incident for which details were not disclosed to the public.

Inside sources, who asked not to be identified, say the discipline stems from an incident involving a wheelchair-bound quadraplegic who was reportedly knocked out of that wheelchair.  Sources claim that Davidson said the wheelchair ran over his toes and believed the man was coming toward him in an aggressive manner.  Three of the five Civil Service Commission members agreed that Davidson did not use excessive force during the incident; however, they were unanimous in their determination that his conduct was unbecoming of an officer.

Apparently there is an ongoing investigation into the matter, so it is unclear whether the discipline is complete.

Davidson has a good reputation in the community, and his friends say it is out-of-character for him to be involved in a disciplinary matter.  Giving him the benefit of the doubt would be easy were it not for the string of incidents involving Lafayette police officers, including death threats made against a private citizen by younger officers.   

It remains to be seen as to whether the City of Lafayette will be burdened with yet another civil suit.  The word on the street says there may be video of the incident in question.

Davidson is a 20-year veteran of the LPD, a police agency that continues to be plagued with unbecoming conduct.

Citizens will be watching closely as they become increasingly concerned for their safety when dealing with LPD officers. 

The LCJ will continue to investigate the details of this story as well as all the others.