One year after police chief fired, woman files lawsuit against P - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

I-Team Follow-Up: Woman files lawsuit related to BRPD search and cell phone seizure

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From left to right: Attorney Jill Craft, her assistant, Amanda Love, and Kim McCants make their way into the courtroom for a hearing in 2013. From left to right: Attorney Jill Craft, her assistant, Amanda Love, and Kim McCants make their way into the courtroom for a hearing in 2013.
Former Baton Rouge Police Chief Dewayne White Former Baton Rouge Police Chief Dewayne White

Last March, a missing cell phone belonging to former Baton Rouge Police Chief Dewayne White that was issued by the city drew officers with a search warrant to the home of Kim McCants of Zachary. Exactly one year after White was handed a letter and fired, McCants is suing White's replacement, Police Chief Carl Dabadie Jr., and the government of the City of Baton Rouge Parish of East Baton Rouge.

"Her rights were violated," said Jill Craft, the attorney for McCants.

Craft filed a federal suit Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, which is exactly one year after White was fired from his position as police chief of the Baton Rouge Police Department. McCants admits in the suit she had a personal relationship with White.

The suit alleges that in the days following White's termination, Mayor Kip Holden's then driver, BRPD Detective Cleveland "Mack" Thomas, was ordered by Holden's office "to obtain as much evidence of the relationship as possible in order for the mayor's office to release it publicly for the sole purpose of embarrassing Mr. White." The warrant was then served on March 26, 2013.

"You can only imagine what it must have been like for she and her child to be woken up at 5:30 in the morning with a no-knock warrant," Craft added.

Thomas and three other officers entered the home. Craft said her client, McCants, asked Thomas several times what was happening. McCants asked to call her lawyer and Thomas said, 'No,' then suddenly said she could call. As McCants went to her bedroom to get her cell phone and started dialing Craft's number, the suit alleges "Thomas followed her, without her permission, snatched the cell phone from her hand and handed her a copy of the warrant while telling petitioner ‘on second thought, you can't call her.'"

The suit claims, on the pretense of finding stolen city property, Thomas took McCants's personal cell to backtrack White's city phone. All the while, Craft said White's phone was not missing and that she had it and said Mayor Kip Holden knew it back then and disputed it.

"If he wants to come look at it, I'm at 509 St. Louis Street. Come on," Craft said in April 2013. "She's not being truthful with people of Baton Rouge at all," Holden said in April 2013.

Craft claims the city and BRPD did everything in their power to release personal and private text messages and pictures between McCants and White when they had nothing to do with his termination. City-parish attorney Joseph Scott was questioned about the issue last year.

Chawla: "What do all the text messages have to do with this?"
Scott: "I'm not at liberty to say."
Chawla: "Why have you been pushing to get those texts to go public?"
Scott: "I'm here to defend a warrant on constitutional grounds."

Craft said current BRPD Police Chief Carl Dabadie Jr. also ordered the report that included the personal text messages and pictures to be left unlocked in BRPD's report system.

"Every single bit of information she had on her cell phone was not only taken from her, but the police department laughed about it. They sent it out. They gave out copies of it. They retyped it. They sent photographs of her around and shared it like it was some joke," Craft explained.

The city-parish and BRPD would not comment on the pending lawsuit.

To read the full lawsuit, CLICK HERE:

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