VILLE PLATTE — A lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court
Western District of Louisiana against the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s
Office and the Ville Platte Police Department alleges that the
plaintiffs experienced illegal investigative holds and a violation of
their Fourth Amendment rights.
The lawsuit was filed on March 1 for plaintiffs Christopher Dugas,
Timothy Johnson, Sharonna Tezano and Nichole Fontenot, according to a
by Ville Platte Today. Representing the plaintiffs are attorneys with
Hach Rose Schirripa and Cheverie LLP of New York City, the Law Office
of Conrad Benedetto of Philadelphia, and Cornish Law LLC of New
The U.S. Department of Justice previously found that the VPPD
regularly arrested and held people in jail without a warrant or
“We believe the VPPD and EPSO overstepped their bounds and did
what the DOJ report said — that they regularly engaged in
investigative holds and unconstitutional arrests,” Frank R.
Schirripa, a partner with Hach Rose Schirripa and Cheverie LLP, told
the Louisiana Record.
According to the complaint, Dugas, of Lafayette, alleged that he
was accused of taking a picture of a minor with his cell phone and
arrested by a VPPD officer and taken to jail.
said that “no such picture of a minor was found on the device.
Dugas has alleged that he was then moved to the Evangeline Parish
Jail “four or five months” after being detained by VPPD and
“brought before a judge six months after being brought into the
VPPD jail, he was offered a plea bargain for time served and a ‘pass
Johnson, of Mamou, alleged that he was arrested by VPPD in 2013
for stealing his roommate’s television.
“Johnson’s roommate informed the police that Johnson was
sleeping at the time of the incident,” the complaint said, and was
held for “11 days at the VPPD” with no charges being brought.
Tezeno, of Mamou, alleged in the complaint that, after witnessing
a home invasion during which a firearm was discharged, she was
arrested, questioned and stripped of possessions such as a cellphone
The complaint alleged that Tezeno was “detained, uncharged, and
forced to remain in a jail cell for over 48 hours,” but was not
charged and did not appear in court for any violations from the
“We seek redress on violation of their constitutional rights and
injunctive relief of any investigative holds, as well as punitive
damages,” Schirripa said.
“We hope that our efforts here are not taken lightly and the
VPPD and EPSO quickly revert to end this practice of unconstitutional
holds,” he added.