BAKER, La. (WAFB) - After fighting for weeks to get video of a traffic stop in Baker, the city has now handed over a portion of what WAFB requested surrounding the incident that allegedly went off the rails.
Operator: “911 where is your emergency?”
Caller: “1020 Barrington Drive Apartment A.”
Operator: “What’s going on ma’am?”
The woman who called police was inside her husband’s car watching what broke out after they got pulled over.
Operator: “What’s going on ma’am?”
Caller: “Umm.. can we get a police over here because the...”
Operator: “For what?”
Caller: “The police is acting crazy. We need another backup police over here at 1020 Barrington Drive.”
The officer she claims was acting crazy is Baker Police Detective Bryan Holiday, and the broad daylight traffic stop unfolded at the intersection of Barrington Drive and Weston Avenue. The police report says officer Holiday pulled over Cedric Polk, saying he ran a stop sign. The officer says that Polk was angry and that he jumped out of the car in a rage. Polk though, tells WAFB’S Scottie Hunter it was the other way around, adding that it was the officer who popped off and cursed at him several times.
“He told me he’ll get my driver’s license ‘when I’m f**king ready for them’ and after he put me in cuffs, he was getting ready to walk to the car to the driver’s side to look in the car or whatever and I told him he didn’t have a warrant to search my car,” Polk said. “That’s when he came back and he got very aggressive and he grabbed me by my shirt collar.”
That is when Polk says the officer slapped him in handcuffs, dragged him along the unit before throwing him in the back seat and slamming the door on his foot. When another officer arrived at the scene, Polk was let go without being charged with anything or even getting a ticket. He works as a bond bailsman and while he did have to go to the hospital, he says he is just glad things did not end up any worse.
“I kind of really feared for my life because every day I carry a gun by the work that I do so if I would have had my firearm, I believe it would have really gotten out of hand that day. There’s no telling what he would have done,” said Polk.
The 9News Investigators asked for body and dash cam video of the traffic stop. At first, WAFB was told the city would not hand it over because of the ongoing excessive force lawsuit Polk filed against the department.
After WAFB’s attorneys got involved, Monday, the city handed over part of what was requested.
A letter from the department’s second in command informed WAFB that there was no body camera footage from officer Holiday because he works in the Criminal Investigations Division and does not have a body cam. The letter went on to explain the officer’s unit also did not have a dash cam.
WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked Polk how the lack of video from the incident makes him think about the situation.
“Well I feel like they’re hiding something,” Polk answered. “I asked officer Holiday was the dash cam on the whole while of the incident in front of officer Conrad and he told me ‘yes it was on the whole time’ so there’s a video somewhere.”
WAFB also asked for body camera video of the other officer that showed up for backup but were not given that either. The only video the Baker Police Department did hand over was a brief clip when Polk showed up to the department not long after the traffic stop to file a complaint.
Officer: “Who am I here to speak with?
Officer: “Alright what you got?”
Polk: “I’m here to file a complaint against Mr. Holiday.”
Officer: “What kind of complaint?”
Polk: “The way that he roughed me up for no reason.”
According to an internal affairs report obtained by the 9News Investigators, the department’s internal investigation was closed for lack of evidence to prove the officer was inappropriate. Polk believes all of it just sounds a little too convenient.
“I kind of figured with the length of time that they took to come with the video that they were either going to edit the video or hide the video, one of the two,” he said. “I think they need someone else to do the investigations instead of inside the departments.”
The excessive force lawsuit is still moving forward and despite the limited information WAFB was able to uncover from the incident, Polk says he is confident the law will be on their side when they go to court.