THE INVESTIGATORS: Legal expert believes officers tried to ‘concoct arrest’ to justify tasering 67-year-old man
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The shocking video out of Port Allen of a 67-year-old being tased while handcuffed and in police custody is now grabbing the attention of people nationwide. Now a legal expert is weighing in, saying what happened to Izell Richardson is just plain wrong.
The wild body camera video shows exactly what happened when officer Nolan Dehon, III unleashed his taser on Richardson. The 67-year-old is already in handcuffs and sitting in the back of a police unit at the time. While struggling to slide in the back seat he starts to scream for help and that’s when things take a turn.
Police initially showed up to a home on Avenue C in Port Allen after Richardson broke out a window in the home he shares with his sister. When he tries to explain he lives there, officer Dehon appears to ignore it. Attorney Franz Borghardt watched the body camera video shortly before speaking with WAFB and he says there were several things that caught his eye beginning with that moment.
“From that point onward it’s just a downward spiral,” said Borghardt.
It wasn’t until after the man was stunned two times with Dehon’s taser that the officer then realizes Richardson had broken the window at his own home. The officer can then be heard discussing what they can charge him with.
WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked the attorney if it was troubling for him that the officers kind of conferenced and tried to figure out their next move.
“So I think what happened was I think they realized ‘oh we just arrested someone or tased someone. We just tased someone for breaking their own window and we tased them twice’ and I think the undertone is we’ve got to figure out how to salvage the situation,” said Borghardt.
Borghardt is not involved in the case. He calls the tasing horrific but says what happened after the fact is shameful.
“I don’t understand how this officer can continue to be an officer and I certainly don’t think the chief of police out there would advocate for this kind of behavior from his law enforcement officers,” said Borghardt.
After being tased, the 67-year-old ended up being hit with a misdemeanor summons for disturbing the peace and resisting arrest. Borghardt says that arrest should have never happened.
“I don’t think this was a lawful arrest. Hey, the police had every reason to go out there. The police had every reason in the world to investigate a woman calling saying her house is being broken into but once they discovered it wasn’t being broken into, once they discovered that in fact it was just somebody that had locked themselves out of the house and he was breaking a window to get inside, I think that could have been the end of it,” said Borghardt.
According to arrest records obtained by the 9News Investigators, Richardson was not resisting arrest and instead it was officer Dehon who ended up being charged. The officer now faces two felony charges-- one for malfeasance in office and another for aggravated battery.
While Richardson says the tasing was awful, he believes what the body camera caught after the fact points to a bigger problem.
“Protecting and serving doesn’t mean protecting and serving yourself as a police officer. It means protecting and serving society and I don’t see the protecting and serving in this incident once it escalates to the point of tasing a gentlemen in his 60′s twice and then concocting a reason to arrest him to justify it later,” said Borghardt.
The officer remains on unpaid leave but still has time to fight for his job before the Port Allen city council in May. Borghardt believes that will likely be an uphill battle now that the video has been made public.
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