City of Alexandria responds to traffic stop lawsuit

Denies violation of rights, claims “objectively reasonable” actions
Published: Dec. 28, 2022 at 7:37 PM CST
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - The City of Alexandria has responded to a lawsuit filed by a New Mexico man and a Dry Prong woman for what they claim was an unconstitutional traffic stop and roadside interrogation on June 15 just off Jackson Street.

On November 1, Mario Rosales and Gracie Lasyone filed a lawsuit against two Alexandria police officers, Jim Lewis and Samuel Terrell, as well as Chief Ronney Howard and the City of Alexandria.

Dashcam video shows Rosales driving a red Ford Mustang with New Mexico plates and a valid registration sticker sitting at a red light with its left turn signal on. When the light turns green, the car makes a left onto Dorchester Drive. That is when Rosales and Lasyone are pulled over. During the course of the 20-minute stop, Rosales and Lasyone were searched and asked a series of questions regarding drugs and weapons. At the end of the stop, Rosales was cited by the officers. All charges were later dismissed. The couple alleges in the lawsuit that they have lost their sense of “security” and “trust” in the police department and believe their rights were deprived.

In response, the defendants deny all but one of the allegations, only admitting that the two officers were employed by the city at the time of the traffic stop. The defendants said they did not violate any constitutional rights, that the actions of the defendants were “objectively reasonable,” and that the individual defendants are entitled to qualified immunity. The defendants claim there was “reasonable suspicion for officers to approach the vehicle.”

The defendants are also seeking a jury trial.

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