I-Team: Police tape requested in alleged brutality probe

Published: Mar. 17, 2016 at 9:13 AM CDT|Updated: Mar. 17, 2016 at 9:18 AM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Baton Rouge Police Department Chief DeWayne White said Tuesday force by one of his officers on a citizen "appears excessive" following a traffic accident Saturday night. White says he has called for an Internal Affairs investigation into the matter. White said Sgt. Bobby Schilling has not been placed on administrative leave.

East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Kip Holden said Tuesday he had no comment on the matter since it is still being investigated by internal affairs.  Holden referred all questions regarding the incident to Police Chief Dewayne White.

An LSU graduate student and his colleague who were shooting a documentary on LSU tailgating captured video of a Baton Rouge police sergeant pulling a woman by her hair out of a ditch minutes after the woman was involved in a motorcycle accident.   An attorney for the police sergeant says a police cruiser dashboard camera, which has not been released, shows the woman allegedly hit the sergeant several times just before she was pulled from the ditch.

The woman was charged with resisting arrest and battery on a police officer.  District Attorney Hillar Moore said Tuesday it will likely be several weeks before his office receives a file from the police department and has an opportunity to review it.

The 9 News I-Team on Tuesday requested a copy of the police tape, citing the Freedom of Information Act.  According to state law, the police department has three days to reply to the request.

The confrontation happened after a motorcycle accident on Nicholson at Lee, Saturday night during the LSU football game. The woman involved in the incident, Melinda Morris of St. Amant, is demanding an apology from the Baton Rouge Police Department.

"It made me feel like I was trash and I'm not trash," she said.

The Morris family was out for a drive Saturday night. Melinda was on a motor scooter behind her husband's motorcycle when he collided with a car. It caused a chain reaction, causing Melinda Morris to fall of her bike and she has the injuries to prove it, including neck injuries, bloody hands and road rash.

Moments later, her son went to check on his dad but Morris says that's when the problems with the Baton Rouge Police Department started.

"Unfortunately, the private video does not capture the female subject's physically aggressive, hostile and non-compliant behavior," said BRPD Union Attorney Charles Dirks.

Morris denies the claim.

"I walked in between the cop and my son and I said 'Sir,' very calmly, 'let me speak to my son - he's upset.' At that time I fell on him. I was dizzy. I had just gotten into a motorcycle accident and rolled on the pavement," she said.

"(It made me feel) like a piece of crap. Like a dog, like I was useless. I was a rag doll and  I was crap underneath his shoe and it was inhumane what he did to me," she said.

Morris was later cuffed and put into the back of a unit where she was charged with resisting arrest and battery and assault on a police officer. Several minutes later, she was taken by stretcher to an ambulance.

"I work for a living. I'm not going to be treated like that. I work at a hospital with people to help them and he's going to do this to me? No I don't think so," she said.

Chief Dewayne White released the following statement:

"The perception of the incident captured on video on the evening of Saturday, September 10, 2011 involving an officer of the Baton Rouge Police, and his use of force to take an individual into custody, certainly appears excessive and contrary to the methods employed by this department for officers effecting arrests.

As Chief of Police, I have ordered an Internal Affairs investigation of this matter absent any complaint made by any of the parties involved on the night in question.  I would be remiss to comment on the merits or facts of this case until the conclusion of the Internal Affairs investigation and final disposition of the matter at the administrative and district court levels.

The involved officer, as it is my prerogative to do so, has not been placed on administrative leave.  Until this matter is concluded, the department will make no further comments regarding this incident."

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