Council to discuss possible settlement in hair-pulling incident

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Baton Rouge officials will discuss Wednesday whether or not the city will pay a woman after a violent run-in with police.

The item is on the agenda of the Baton Rouge Metro Council meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.

Sgt. Bobby Schilling, a 19-year veteran with the Baton Rouge Police Department, was tending to a motorcycle crash on Sept. 10, 2011 and said he felt he had to restrain a woman who was acting unruly. He was suspended for dragging Melinda Morris across the ground by her hair.

The suspension was later overturned, but there is now a settlement offer in a civil case. It could cost the city $30,000.

The incident was caught on camera by an amateur videographer on Nicholson Drive. In the video, Schilling is seen grabbing Morris out of a ditch by her hair.

During the hearing in which Schilling's suspension was overturned, his lawyer said the dash cam video from Schilling's patrol car shows Morris hitting him before falling in the ditch.

"At no point in time did I witness him put his hands on her until she went to active aggression," said Cpl. Myron Daniel, a BRPD tactical officer.

"When she's down in the ditch, does Sgt. Schilling immediately grab her hair to pull her out or does he try to do something else?" asked Charlie Dirks, Schilling's attorney. "No, it's pretty obvious in the video, he tried to grab her wrists and she yanked it back," said Det. Dustin Conde.

Dirks added Schilling gave the woman verbal warning to get out of the ditch and then finally resorted to pulling her by her hair, his point being Schilling did not lose his temper.

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