The Justice Department announced Monday that it found reasonable cause to believe that the Ville Platte, Louisiana, Police Department and the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office violate the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.
Federal prosecutors said police engaged in the practice of arresting and putting people in holding cells without probable cause.
The department found that police and sheriff used a procedure the agencies called an “investigative hold” to detain individuals without probable cause during criminal investigations, according to officials.
Often, individuals were in holding cells for several days at a time, where they were unable to contact family, friends or employers and had limited access to food and personal items.
“When police officers investigate criminal activity, they must do so responsibly and within the boundaries of the law,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division.
Adding, “The violations we found in Ville Platte and Evangeline Parish demonstrate a disturbing pattern of officers overstepping legal boundaries by placing residents in holding cells for days at a time without probable cause. We look forward to working with both agencies and the local municipalities to ensure that officers can effectively protect their communities and safeguard the liberties of the residents they serve.”
The Civil Rights Division’s Special Litigation Section conducted this investigation.
Since the start of the administration, the Special Litigation Section has opened 25 investigations into law enforcement agencies. The department is enforcing 19 agreements with law enforcement agencies, including 14 consent decrees and one post-judgment order.
To read the investigative report on the Louisiana police’s and sheriff’s investigation click here: Department of Justice
The Justice Department’s findings result from a comprehensive review of EPSO and VPPD’s relevant policies, procedures, training and accountability systems.
The review included meetings with the leadership of both agencies and the city of Ville Platte, interviews with officers throughout the chain of command at both agencies and conversations with other members of the local community.
Throughout the department’s investigation, the police and sheriff’s departments along with the city of Ville Platte provided their full cooperation and were receptive to the department’s initial feedback, according to officials.
Police leadership acknowledged that the investigative holds are unconstitutional and have taken laudable steps to begin eliminating their use. The department will continue to work closely with these law enforcement agencies and municipalities to remedy the issues identified in the report, according to officials.
Warning: file_get_contents(): https:// wrapper is disabled in the server configuration by allow_url_fopen=0 in /hermes/bosweb26a/b360/ipg.sbnotebookcom/wp-content/themes/goodnews5/framework/functions/posts_share.php on line 151 Warning: file_get_contents(https://plusone.google.com/_/+1/fastbutton?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cjnotebook.com%2Flouisiana-police-violating-constitution-rights-by-people-put-in-holding-cells-without-probable-cause%2F): failed to open stream: no suitable wrapper could be found in /hermes/bosweb26a/b360/ipg.sbnotebookcom/wp-content/themes/goodnews5/framework/functions/posts_share.php on line 151