Dash cam video of deadly traffic stop released
LIVINGSTON, LA (WAFB) - The Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office has released the dash cam video of a deadly traffic stop and in doing so said its deputies followed procedure.
The video shows Deputy Chris Sturdivant as he pulls over 42-year-old Adam Stogner. The tape starts with the deputy asking Stogner for his license. It ends with an officer asking the man if he's still breathing.
Chief Deputy Jason Ard says when the video starts Adam Stogner did not put his truck in park. They say that backs up the reason he was pulled over. The deputy believed he was impaired. On the tape, there is audio of the deputy asking for Stogner's license. "What you got in your hand? the deputy then asks. "Give me your hand," he demands. "I don't have nothing in my hand," Stogner responds. "I swear to you."
The media watched the video with Ard and several other law enforcement agents. "Pay attention to the subject's right hand," Ard said. On the dash cam video, the deputy tells Stogner to open his hand. Deputies say they believe Stogner was holding a baggy of narcotics in his right hand. The tape shows Stogner moving something from one hand to the other and placing it in his mouth. "Did you see him put it in his mouth? Ard asks. "Right there and this is where the struggle starts," he points out. "Spit it out!" the deputy tells Stogner.
All this is happening while the deputy was trying to handcuff the man. The deputy does get one cuff on, but because the two seem to be in a wrestling match, Ard says that loose cuff can be a weapon. At several points, there are images of what looks like the deputy hitting Stogner. The sheriff's office says another time it looks like Stogner is crawling toward the interstate with the deputy on his back. And again, it appears the deputy hits the man.
"He was appropriate in his actions. He followed departmental protocol in trying to arrest a subject who tried to resist," Ard said. Only after two more deputies arrive on scene is Stogner completely cuffed. Keep in mind, the baggy is still in his mouth. It's then that one of the deputies notices Stogner is having trouble breathing and calls for medical help. "Is he breathing?" one of the deputies asked. "I don't know," another answered.
Deputies say Stogner later died along Interstate 12. Deputies did start CPR until EMS arrived. Peter John, the family's lawyer, says only one thing is clear from the tape. He says Adam Stogner never tried to hit the deputy. "Adam got his butt beat, okay, 'cause he's all bruised up and dead," John said. "Is that justified by what the officer wanted out of his hand?"
Stogner's family's attorney says the family plans to conduct its own autopsy and investigation. Preliminary results from the Livingston Parish coroner show Stogner died from severe coronary artery disease, an enlarged heart, and a fracture of the hyoid bone in his neck. Dr. Ron Coe says the fracture may be due to force being applied to that area. Dr. Coe says Stogner also tested positive for methamphetamine. The coroner also said the death was accidental. Louisiana State Police have been called in to assist the sheriff's office in investigating this case.
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