Louisiana Record

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Driver sues sheriff’s department over alleged civil rights breach; Says he was wrongfully arrested and jailed for possessing firearm

By The Louisiana Record | Apr 22, 2015

A Garyville man is suing a local municipality and two law officers for alleged civil rights infringement.

Nathan Lee filed a claim against Sheriff Michael Tregre and an unnamed deputy, in their capacities as employees of St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office, and the latter party individually, in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana on March 30, citing wrongful arrest and other allegations in a 2014 matter.

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff was stopped by the unnamed deputy while driving on Highway 44 in Reserve on or about March 30, 2014, because his license plate lacked illumination. The deputy asked Lee if he had any weapons in his vehicle; Lee said that he did. The deputy obtained Lee’s registration, license and insurance; ran a check on him; and subsequently arrested and jailed him for possession of a firearm as a convicted felon, the lawsuit states.

The complaint says that Lee did not resist, was not in fact a felon, and that the charge was dismissed. Maintaining that the defendants had no cause to suspect, arrest and detain him, and did so with malice and bad faith, the plaintiff alleges physical and emotional pain and suffering, mental anguish, shock and fright, embarrassment and humiliation as a consequence of unlawful public arrest and imprisonment.

Lee claims that the deputy’s actions resulted from improper training, supervision and discipline. The plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, attorney’s fees, expenses, and costs.

He is represented by DaShawn Hayes of the Hayes Law Firm, New Orleans.

U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana, case no. 2:15-cv-00974-JCZ-MBN.

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