Police Department: Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office
The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana, Roche Freedman LLP, and Aaron & Gianna, PLC are representing Shavonda Brooks, on behalf of her minor child, “A.B.”, against Sheriff Joseph P. Lopinto and other employees from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office (“JPSO”).
On December 14, 2020, A.B. and his cousin T.B. were selling brownies outside of a convenience store in Metairie, Louisiana. A JPSO officer responded to a complaint that the teens did not leave the store premises quickly enough when requested, though when the officer arrived shortly thereafter, the boys were already gone. Nevertheless, the officer proceeded to follow A.B. across the street into another parking lot and then violently arrest him at gunpoint. The officer had no reason to believe the allegedly loitering teens were armed or dangerous, but without any provocation he immediately pulled out his gun to arrest A.B. with no prior warning or request to stop. Then the officer threw A.B. on the hood of his car and repeatedly punched him before pushing A.B. on the ground, where the officer continued to punch A.B. and put his weight on A.B. while handcuffing him. The encounter left A.B. with a broken wrist and traumatized from the brutality.
After the arrest, Ms. Brooks filed a complaint against the deputy and submitted public records requests to JPSO related to A.B.’s brutalization. Despite repeated requests, JPSO failed to produce any documents about the arrest, always using different excuses as part of its standard protocol of covering up police misconduct and keeping limited records.
The lawsuit asserts violations of A.B.’s Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights by the officer’s unlawful arrest and use of excessive force. In addition to related state-law claims, the suit also asserts claims against Sheriff Lopinto for his failure to appropriately supervise and investigate, as well as claims against JPSO’s records custodian for violations of Louisiana Public Records Law
Ms. Brooks seeks to hold the defendants accountable for their Constitutional violations and violent misconduct that caused a teen boy selling brownies to be punched and beaten.
The defendants in this case are:
- Brian Kahrs, a deputy of JPSO
- Cherie W. Blanchard, Commander Central Records of JPSO
- Sherifff Joseph P. Lopinto III, Sheriff of JPSO