Louisiana Record

Monday, September 23, 2019

Civil-rights lawsuit against St. Tammany Sheriff's Office dismissed in federal court

By Charmaine Little | Mar 31, 2017

NEW ORLEANS — The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office is pleased after a judge recently dismissed a civil-rights lawsuit against it following a New Orleans man’s claims that he was physically attacked during an arrest.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier on March 16 dismissed Shane Gates’ civil-rights case against the Sheriff’s Office and other organizations, the Times-Picayune reported. He claimed that deputies pushed his face into a road after handcuffing him. Barbier said Gates did not appear in state court after his 2006 arrest and receiving misdemeanor charges of allegedly driving while intoxicated and resisting arrest and felony charges of an aggravated flight from an officer.

In 2012, a 12-person jury found Gates not guilty of the felony. But his civil-rights lawsuit was paused in lieu of the misdemeanor charges.

“We were pleased the court dismissed the lawsuit,” Mandeville attorney Chadwick W. Collings, who represents the Sheriff’s Office and its employees, told the Louisiana Record.

But it does not look like it will end there.

Gates, who included the Louisiana attorney general’s office, the district attorney’s office and the clerk of court’s office in the lawsuit, made further claims that the district attorney’s office wanted to keep the misdemeanor charges against him in order to win a conviction “to protect the sheriff’s insurance carrier and his $500,000 deductible” along with the intentions to “cover up federal and state crimes committed by the sheriff and his attorneys,” The Times-Picayune reported.

Collings said of Gates' allegations against the Sheriff’s Office that he is familiar with the claims and is unaware of any evidence to support those claims.

“I believe Judge Barbier looked at the law and applied it correctly in this case. [Gates] is a fugitive and has been for three years,” Collings said.

Gates and his attorney, John Hollister, have said they have plans to file an appeal.

“We will certainly look at whatever Mr. Gates’ attorney files, and the sheriff will respond accordingly,” Collings said.

Hollister was unavailable to comment on the case.

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St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office