Suit filed against BRPD in hair-pulling case

Published: Mar. 17, 2016 at 8:44 AM CDT|Updated: Mar. 17, 2016 at 9:19 AM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The woman who was pulled by her hair from a ditch by a police officer filed suit Monday against the police department and the officer involved.   The incident happened minutes after the woman was involved in a traffic accident.

A man shooting a documentary in the area shot video of the incident which shows Baton Rouge Police Sergeant Robert Schilling pulling Melinda Morris from the ditch. 

Schilling's attorney says another video, one captured from a police dashboard camera, shows that Morris hit the officer several times prior to her being removed from the ditch.   Citing an ongoing internal affairs probe, police have refused to release that videotape or comment on what it allegedly shows.

Morris and several family members were involved in a motorcycle wreck on Nicholson Drive near Lee earlier this month, causing police to respond to the area.   Morris got into an argument with Schilling who was trying to keep her son from approaching his father who was injured in the wreck, she says.

A lawsuit filed in federal court alleges Morris complied with all police requests on the night of the incident and "at no point did Melinda Morris strike Robert Schilling nor did she make any threats or act in a threatening way toward Robert Schilling or any other person who was present."

The lawsuit claims that Schilling pushed Morris and caused her to fall into a ditch.   She was unable to get up because of her injuries, the lawsuit says.  The lawsuit alleges Schilling then "grabbed her by her hair and forcibly pulled her from the ditch until another police officer intervened and stopped him from continuing to do so."

Morris was handcuffed and charged with battery on a police officer and resisting arrest.  She was placed in the back of a police patrol car but later removed, placed on a stretcher, and transported to a hospital.

Her attorney, Eulius Simien, Jr., says his client has been exposed to "intentional infliction of mental distress, assault, battery, defamation, false imprisonment, and malicious prosecution."

The Baton Rouge Police Department says it will not comment on the case.

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