I-TEAM: Bail bonds agent’s profanity-laced tirade caught on camera during home search
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A Baton Rouge woman claims she and her family were disrespected and violated in their own home when bail bonds agents showed up to their door Tuesday, May 16, 2023. Jophiner Kelly says one agent in particular who was armed with a gun took things too far, flying off the handle in a profanity-laced tirade during the encounter.
Ring cameras at the home show parts of the encounter outside the home when agents came knocking. The video obtained by the WAFB I-TEAM picks up as things quickly go off the rails.
“Your house is surrounded and we will come in this motherf*cker whether you like it or not,” one of the agents can be heard screaming in the video.
The bail bonds agents showed up and from the moment they got there, Kelly says things escalated quickly. She says the one agent who took things too far at one point insulted her by making things about race.
“He just kind of shoved his way in and constantly cursing like ‘f*ck yall, we can come in and he’s in here,’ you know. And the crazy part about it is you keep saying ‘whitey’,” said Kelly. “Are you racist? Why are you insinuating we don’t want whitey in our house? That was crazy.”
At one point the same agent can be seen appearing to kick the front door of the home. Kelly calls it unacceptable and she felt violated in her own home.
“Honestly I was lost for words because I was like who does this. Who does this and doesn’t have to be accountable,” said Kelly.
WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked Kelly if there was ever a point where she felt like her family’s safety was at risk.
“Yes, the entire time especially when he was in the back saying ‘you motherf*ckers are going to let me in here’ and then at the end when he was leaving he said ‘I’m coming back’, so I don’t know if I need to be in fear for my life or what,” said Kelly “What are you coming back for?”
The bail bondsmen showed up looking for Kelly’s son, claiming there were there to take him in on a warrant for a theft charge. Kelly says they never showed her a warrant and never identified themselves nor who they were representing. It turns out the guy those agents were looking for does not live at the home and the homeowner is just glad everything was captured on her Ring cameras.
“I’m very thankful because as you know a lot of people get away scot free by word of mouth so I was very grateful to have them,” said Kelly.
Kelly says the biggest issue for her is tracking down who she needs to file a complaint with so that something like what she went through never happens again. While she admits toward the end of the encounter she and her husband were also cursing at the agent, she says it was the agent who escalated things to that level and he needs to be held accountable.
“People like him should not be in a position to where they can interact with the community as such like he did and like he’s able to do,” said Kelly. “He’s a hot head and maybe he can benefit from anger management or some type of ethics class or something. At the least, he needs to be disciplined.”
Bail bonds agents, similar to what people may think of as a bounty hunter are legal in Louisiana and regulated by the Department of Insurance. In fact, some of the requirements are spelled out in Louisiana law, including the fact that they have to be licensed to do the work.
Kelly says she wants action because she is afraid of how far a situation lik this will go the next time.
“It’s unsafe. That’s how people get hurt and that’s how people get killed.”
The WAFB I-TEAM reached out to the Department of Insurance and shared the video of this encounter with representatives there. John Ford, spokesman for the agency, released the following statement.
“While the LDI cannot comment on the existence or details of its active investigations, the behavior exhibited in this video is disturbing and within our authority to investigate.”
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