I-Team: Was officer punched before pulling woman out of ditch? - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

I-Team: Was officer punched before pulling woman out of ditch?


Baton Rouge Police have said all along their videotape tells a different story.

BRPD released their dash cam video to the I-team showing part of what happened in the seconds before a police sergeant pulled a woman from a ditch by her hair.

A man shooting a documentary on LSU tailgating last fall found his focus quickly shifting when a motorcycle wreck happened a few feet from where he was standing.

He ran over, and started rolling tape. A woman involved in the wreck got into an argument with a responding officer and ended up in a ditch.

"Officer: Get up!"

"Officer: Put your hands behind your back."

"Officer: Put your hands behind your back."

"Woman: I was in a ******* wreck"

"Officer: I don't care. Put your hand behind your back!"

When the I-Team first aired the video, the Baton Rouge police chief said the actions of the officer - Sergeant Robert Schilling - appeared excessive. Schilling was later suspended for 15 days.

Police also charged the woman, Melinda Morris, with interfering with an officer saying their own dash cam video showed Morris hitting the sergeant three times before he grabbed her.

Since the criminal case against Morris ended last week, police have now released their own video.

It's video from the dash cam inside Sgt. Schilling's patrol car.

It shows him driving to the scene of the accident. He arrives, gets out, and investigates the scene. Minutes later, on the right side of the video, the sergeant and Morris get into an argument. This is just before she falls in the ditch.

Was she hitting the sergeant? Her lawyer Eulius Simien says no.

"She's falling in the ditch at the time they claim she's taking punches at him. I think it's her arms moving about as she's trying to prevent herself from falling," said Simien.

Simien said his client pleaded no contest to her charges to get the whole ordeal behind her and eventually have her records wiped clean.

Multiple police sources said the police department examined the dash cam video and found that it clearly shows Morris hitting the sergeant multiple times, but a police spokesman would not comment on camera, saying the case is not yet over. Schilling is appealing his suspension. The sergeant wants to get paid for the 15 days he was suspended.

The civil service board has not yet taken up his case.

Simien said regardless of what anyone sees in the police video, it's the amateur video that counts.

"She's down in the ditch at the time he reaches down. She's not punching him. She's not doing anything at that time and obviously that was unjustified conduct on his part," said Simien.

Morris has filed a civil rights lawsuit against Schilling and the police department. That lawsuit is still pending in federal court. The lawyer for Shilling told 9 News that the police video speaks for itself.

Copyright 2012 WAFB. All rights reserved.

SIDEBAR: Hair-Pulling Incident

Hair-pulling officer suspendedI-Team: Hair-pulling cop has checkered pastI-Team: Police tape requested in alleged brutality probe More>>

Powered by Frankly