MINDEN, La. (KSLA) - The Minden Police Department is investigating a use of force incident after officers were seen on video struggling with a man lying on the ground while a young child, believed to be the man’s grandson with autism, looks on.
The incident happened the morning of Thursday, April 15 on Gum Street in Minden. Five officers can be seen in the video struggling with the man, who family member have identified as Robby Bailey, while the young boy looks on from a short distance away. Family members say the child is the man’s grandchild, who has autism.
Minden Police Chief Steve Cropper says officers were initially called out about a man “laid out by a roadway.” Two officers responded, he says.
When officers arrived, they found the small child and a short time later, found the man lying in the bushes on someone’s property in front of a house. Officers claim the man was incoherent and possibly under the influence of some sort of substance. Family members claim the man was walking his grandson to school when he suffered a seizure and fell down. Family members go on to say the seizures cause him to become combative when he comes out of them because they make him disoriented.
The police chief says according to all video footage, the man did not have a seizure and that the ambulance did not want to transport him because of his impairment. He was ultimately transported to the ER because of his incoherence, the chief says.
Minden PD officials say officers tried to walk the man to a public place, but that he resisted their help. He reportedly pulled away from officers and walked back towards the home he was found lying in front of. Officers reportedly tried to pull him back, but claim he fought them. The two officers began to struggle with the man and then called for backup, they say.
Five officers reportedly struggled with the man and could not get him handcuffed, Minden PD says.
Chief Cropper says he has seen the videos of the incident that were shot by an onlooker and that one officer has been placed on administrative leave while the incident is being investigated. The officer placed on leave can be seen kicking Bailey in the video. The chief says the officer told him he believed his use of force was justified because the other four officers could not subdue the man. The officer says he kicked the man in a part of his body that wouldn’t do permanent damage: under his arm. The police chief reports the officer says he felt like his actions worked because the man stopped fighting and officers were then able to put him in handcuffs.
Another officer can be seen in the videos punching the man. KSLA asked Chief Cropper about that officer, to which he responded that “hand strikes” are how officers are trained and they’re meant to subdue a suspect without doing permanent damage.
Bailey was arrested and taken to a hospital. Police say he’s charged with marijuana possession and resisting arrest.
Two videos of the incident were recorded by a woman driving by on her way to work.
WARNING: The videos below contain graphic language and imagery.