Jefferson Parish Cop Forces Way Into Home To Make Arrest, Did He Cross The Line? [UPDATE-VIDEO]
UPDATE 4/3/14 6:30 P.M.: The JPSO has issued a press release related to the incident surrounding the controversial arrest of Donrell Breaux, as seen in a video that has now gone viral.
JPSO Spokesperson Col. John Fortunato says an officer responded to a 911 complaint of a man cursing at his neighbor around 2:50 P.M. on Sunday, March 30, 2014.
When the Fourth District officer arrived on the scene in the 200 block of Marmadie Avenue, the neighbor said he and his wife were sitting outside with their kids and hear their neighbor using profanity.
The neighbor said that he asked the men to stop cursing when one of the men, identified as 26-year-old Donrell Breaux responded to the neighbor using profanity. Because of this, the neighbor told the officer he wanted to press charges on the man for cursing at him and his family.
Fortunato said the officers intention at that point was to issue a misdemeanor summons to Breaux, but as he approached the home, he could smell marijuana.
The officer asked Breaux for identification, at which point he told him that he had none, but may have had identification inside the house. As the officer walked with Breaux toward the door, he told him he was under arrest.
As the officer followed him into the doorway with his handcuffs in hand, Breaux attempted to close the door on the officer. The officer continued into the home where a brief struggle ensued. The officer did in fact tell the suspect he was under arrest for resisting an officer, as indicated in the video.
Breaux was arrested and booked on charges of disturbing the peace by cursing, resisting arrest and battery on a police officer.
The JPSO also reported that Breaux had various other charges from previous arrests, including terroristic threats and acts, reckless conduct, and other marijuana-related offenses.
Whether or not Breaux was ever convicted on any of those charges was not made clear, and according to a search of numerous criminal court databases by WDSU didn't turn up any results.
The release did not include any information on whether or not the officer in the video was disciplined.
See the full press release here.
UPDATE 4/3/14 3:00 P.M.: I spoke with Don Rell Breaux, 26, who believes he was treated unfairly by the Jefferson Parish deputy on Sunday (3/31) in a River Ridge neighborhood.
Breaux told me that he believes the police were called by a neighbor because he and his friends were being too loud on the porch and using vulgar language. He also mentioned the officer may be a friend, or acquaintance of the neighbor, and upon his arrival did not identify himself as he tried to force his way into the house to place Breaux under arrest.
The moment he describes is what we see when the video opens up to Breaux going back and forth with the officer who, after a lot of back and forth, eventually arrests Breaux. By the time all was said and done, Breaux says a total of 11 officers showed up to assist in the arrest.
Breaux says he was arrested and officially charged with battery of a police officer, disturbing the peace, and a felony charge of resisting arrest with violence. Besides traffic tickets, Breaux says this was his first major run in with the law. He was released on Monday (3/31) after spending a night in jail and paying $30 of his $7000 bond.
While Breaux believes the officer was clearly out of line, he says that it will be up to Jefferson Parish to decide if the deputy should be punished.
After several attempts to reach JPSO a spokesperson said that Sheriff Newell Normand has a copy of the video, was currently investigating the situation, and when and if the Sheriff's office had something to say about the incident they would do so at that time.
In the meantime, Breaux -- who lives at the residence with Eric Banegas (the man who took the video) and his family after recently moving back to New Orleans -- plans on fighting the charges he believes to be unfair and hopes the Sheriff's office will "do the right thing."
The video has been shared thousands of times since being uploaded to Facebook this week by Eric Banegas and has many of its viewers questioning the officer's actions.
The video opens up to an officer trying to force his way into the door of a home where a man is attempting to keep him out as he repeatedly asks the officer what his intentions are.
We then see the officer making his way into the home and forcing the man to sit down while he attempts to place him under arrest while the man continues to ask the officer what he's being arrested for. The officer never gives the man a reason, other than "resisting arrest."
While we don't know what happened before the camera man began filming, these are the biggest questions I have about this video.
- If the cop had a warrant, I'm almost positive he would have provided it after the man he was trying to apprehend asked him for the 30th time. There also didn't seem to be any pressing reason or circumstance requiring the officer to enter without a warrant.
- The United States Constitution gives the man the right to resist an arrest if it isn't lawful, as we saw the man in the video do repeatedly. Even if the officer claims he was arrested for resisting arrest, it won't stick if there wasn't a lawful reason in the first place.
Eventually another officer arrives on the scene to assist in the arrest and the video cuts off, but we still never actually find out what the man was being arrested for in the first place.
Jefferson Parish Police are currently looking into the matter and although we have contacted Eric Banegas, he nor the man being arrested in the video have elected to comment at this time.
Again, we don't know the full story, but we will keep you updated when and if any details unfold.
Based on what you see in the video, do you believe the officer crossed the line?