GRETNA – Two local police departments are being sued by a woman who claims after she recovered her vehicle due to an armed robbery she was pulled over and accused of stealing it because it had not been removed from a stolen vehicle database.
Brittany Jarreau filed suit against the New Orleans Police Department and the Kenner Police Department in the 24th Judicial District Court on Feb. 25.
Jarreau alleges she and her 3-year-old daughter were about to enter their apartment located at 1401 Chimney Wood Lane in New Orleans around 10 p.m. on March 19, 2013 when two armed assailants threatened to kill her child and demanded the keys to her 2010 Toyota Camry before taking off in the vehicle. The plaintiff asserts she immediately reported the crime to the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) and over a month later on May 21, 2013 the stolen vehicle was recovered from 3001 Tupelo St. in Kenner, which was believed to be the address of one of the gunmen.
Jarreau claims that after finding the vehicle representatives from the Kenner Police Department (KPD) contacted her and told her the man who was found to be in possession of the vehicle said he had let her borrow it, which she denied. The NOPD then arranged to meet with the plaintiff at the address where the vehicle had been located despite the possibility that the gunman and his family and friends would be able to identify and retaliate against her.
The plaintiff claims that after being instructed to drive the car home she found the alleged thief had left a gun in the vehicle as well as groceries and his girlfriend’s purse, which were secured by the KPD after she notified them. Afterward Jarreau asserts she was told by KPD officers to take her car and go home and that she did not need any paperwork.
After taking the car home and subsequently driving it the next day, the plaintiff claims she was suddenly surrounded by Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies who pulled her over, approached her car with their weapons drawn and then forcibly removed her from the vehicle and held her at gun point before realizing that the car, which was still reported as stolen, belonged to her.
Jarreau asserts that she suffered severe emotional distress due to the incident and had to be taken to a nearby hospital where she was diagnosed with anxiety and given medication.
The defendants are accused of badly mishandling the case, making the plaintiff the target of law enforcement agencies, failing to secure the vehicle at the crime scene, failing to keep the plaintiff safe from the crime scene, failing to use due diligence in reporting the criminal case activity, failing to inspect the vehicle, failing to report the recovery of the vehicle, failing to recover the access number for the vehicle from the National Crime Information Center, failing to report accurate and correct information regarding the vehicle, failing to follow proper procedures and failing to follow-up to check if the vehicle was still listed as stolen after being recovered.
An unspecified amount in damages is sought for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and loss of consortium.
Jarreau is represented by attorney Adam S. Lambert of New Orleans.
The case has been assigned to Division P Judge Lee V. Faulkner.
Case no. 735-850.