LAFAYETTE – A woman who claims she was falsely arrested by officers of the Crowley Police Department for videotaping them on two occasions claims her civil rights were violated.
Theresa Richard filed suit against Kelly P. Gibson, individually and in his official capacity as police chief of the Crowley Police Department; Scott Fogelman, individually and in his official capacity as a lieutenant for the Crowley Police Department; Skeat Thibodeaux, individually and in his official capacity as a police officer for the Crowley Police Department and the City of Crowley in U.S. District Court Western District of Louisiana on Dec. 12, 2014.
Richard claims that on Dec. 1, 2013 she entered the lobby of the Crowley Police Department located at 426 North Ave. F in Crowley with her camera recording and was told by Lieutenant Fogelman that she should not put the video on Facebook. The plaintiff contends that when asked what would happen if she did post the video Lieutenant Fogelman said “do it and find out what happens.”
Richard claims she asked if Lieutenant Fogelman was threatening her and he asked she leave the building, but when she asked why she had to leave she claims her camera was seized and she was placed under arrest for trespassing. The plaintiff allege that she made a complaint of false arrest and the charge was dismissed on Dec. 23, 2013.
Richard alleges this video was captured during and before the Dec. 1, 2013 arrest:
In another incident that occurred on May 28, 2014 Richard alleges she was at her neighbor’s home who had called the police to report that he was being harassed from other neighbors and that when officer Thibodeaux arrived she attempted to video record the interaction on her cell phone at which time she was told by Thibodeaux that video taping was prohibited.
The plaintiff claims that Thibodeaux told her to get in her car and remain in the vehicle until the interaction was finished. However, Richard contends that she told Thibodeaux she could not adequately record the interaction from her vehicle and that she would exercise her first amendment rights by remaining at a distance so as not to interfere in the interview. However, the plaintiff asserts that Thibodeaux then placed her under false arrest for interfering with a law enforcement investigation and public intimidation, both charges which were later dismissed.
Richard alleges the video below is from the May 28, 2014 arrest:
Richard further claims that neither Fogelman or Thibodeaux are actually employees of the Crowley Police Department because they were improperly hired and were thus guilty of impersonating police officers when they arrested her.
The defendants are accused of violating the plaintiff's constitutional rights as provided by the 1st and 14th amendments, intimidation and engaging in cruel and degrading treatment.
An unspecified amount in damages is sought for civil rights violations, mental anguish, emotional pain and suffering, embarrassment, humiliation, negligent issuing of police equipment including firearms and identification, punitive damages and attorney’s fees.
The plaintiff is represented by attorney L. Clayton Burgess of Lafayette.
The case has been assigned to U.S. Federal Judge Richard T Haik Sr.
Case no. 6:14-cv-03439.