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|
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.