Attorney moves for trial in case involving same deputy who shot man in WBR motel

Attorney moves for trial in case involving same deputy who shot man in WBR motel
WBRSO says Deputy Vance Matranga is the one who pulled the trigger, killing Josef Richardson in Port Allen on July 25. (Source: WBRSO)

PORT ALLEN, La. (WAFB) - Settlement talks have recently broken down between the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office (WBRSO), Deputy Vance Matranga, several officers from the Port Allen Police Department, and a man who claims he suffered a broken leg due to their actions. The attorney representing the man is now formally requesting a trial about the matter.

The two sides were unable to resolve their ongoing conflict during a settlement conference call held Wednesday, Sept. 4, according to a document filed in federal court.

“At this point Plaintiff believes Defendants do not recognize the seriousness of their actions/lack thereof, the pain, the suffering, the exasperation of injury and, manifest lack of humanity they have shown, have no interest in reaching a reasonable settlement and, that his only path to justice is by trial,” wrote attorney, Oliver Hadley, who filed the document.

Hadley represents Fedreck Johnson in relation to an incident that took place in December of 2016. In that incident, Deputy Matranga reportedly tackled Johnson, who was running from another officer at the time. The fall after that tackle resulted in Johnson’s leg being broken, the lawsuit states.

The suit also claims Johnson was denied medical help for hours, despite verbally telling first responders and members of law enforcement at the scene he was suffering extensive pain related to the injury.

“That even though Defendants acknowledge that Mr. Johnson had a broken leg due to their actions and was left in a cell suffering and untreated for over half a day they have made only ‘nuisance’ settlement offers in this case,” Hadley wrote in the filing.

Oliver said in an interview Thursday, Aug. 15 there was little effort in getting the situation resolved.

“They have been completely irresponsible and unresponsive to acknowledging any wrongdoing happened,” Hadley said at the time.

In this latest filing, Hadley notes Matranga’s use of force as a pain point.

“That it has come to light that Defendant Vance Matranga has demonstrated a pattern of, and continued us of, excessive and unnecessary force, i.e. fatally shooting an unarmed man in the back of the head, an action for which he is facing a separate lawsuit for,” Hadley wrote.

That statement references a deputy involved shooting in July of 2019 in which Matranga fatally shot a man while serving a search warrant.

On Thursday, July 25, 2019 Matranga was a part of the River West Task Force, which was executing a search warrant for drugs at the Budget 7 Motel in room #5 in Port Allen.

The search warrant states, “The River West Narcotics Task Force received information from a reliable confidential informant that a quantity of Methamphetamine is located [at the Budget 7 Motel]."

The warrant goes on to say a confidential informant had purchased meth in the last 72 hours from a black male at the Budget 7 Motel.

The WBRSO deputy was asked in the warrant to search for and seize several different things, including any cell phones, money, guns, pictures and videos, or any other evidence that could show the distribution/possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, which is a felony.

Because drugs can be hidden on a person, the warrant also asked the court to grant officers the right to search anyone found at the residence and for the warrant to be executed at any time, including during the day, night, weekends, and/or holidays.

During the search, Josef Richardson was shot by Deputy Matranga.

Autopsy results released by the West Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office show Richardson died from a gunshot wound to the back of the head.

That case remains under investigation by Louisiana State Police (LSP). Matranga has since returned to desk duty without a badge or a gun, a WBRSO spokesperson said Thursday, Sept. 5.

Hadley wrote in the filing he has made “several” offers to settle the 2016 case. It remains unclear what the terms of those settlement offers were.

“Of course I can’t go into details of our discussions, but it became quite apparent that none of the defendants have taken their actions (or lack thereof) seriously,” Hadley told WAFB Friday, Sept. 13.

“My client wants to be compensated for his injuries and unnecessary suffering, but more so, he wants to make sure that no one else ever has to go though this again. His leg was broken, he asked from the beginning to go to the hospital but a transport waiver was signed on his behalf without his consent. He was wrongly admitted into a jail when he should have been given medical attention first, and then left to sit in cell with no medical attention and in great pain for over 12 hours. No human being should treat another that way- much less those who are supposed to be our protectors,” Hadley said. "Recent events, to me, demonstrate systemic problems with officers’ use of force and suspect treatment in our country, specifically the Baton Rouge area. Ultimately, I believe in our Constitution, I believe in our justice system, and I am highly confident that once a jury hears all the facts, the defendants in the case will be called to account and hopefully change will be swift. "

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