After 15-year-old K.P. begged the officer through tears, “please don’t shoot my daddy,” the officer, who was holding a gun to the child’s father’s head, turned the gun on K.P. and his two friends. That April 17, 2020 was an evening of terror for Wesley Pigott and his two children, K.P. and Mya, and has caused them severe mental and emotional harm.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana, alongside the Law Office of Anthony Cecutti, the Law Office of Jennifer R. Louis-Jeune, Anna Sideris of Quijano Ennis & Sideris, and Howard University School of Law’s Criminal Justice Clinic, is currently representing Mr. Wesley Pigott—a white man—and his two Black children, K.P. and Mya. The Pigotts are victims of a Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Deputy’s racially motivated use of excessive force on April 17, 2020.
As part of the ACLU of Louisiana’s litigation campaign against racist policing, this lawsuit seeks to hold law enforcement officers accountable for using skin color as a definitive indicator of criminality. Justice is stifled when Black and Brown people, especially children, are targeted and confronted with excessive and unreasonable force by law enforcement officials.
The lawsuit alleges that a Rapides Parish law enforcement officer, Paul Gintz, violated the Pigotts’ Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights by employing excessive force to unlawfully seize the family. It also alleges that the law enforcement officer’s actions violated the Pigotts’ rights under the laws of Louisiana.
In April of 2020, after being followed for several miles by an unmarked truck, Mr. Pigott pulled into an empty parking lot with his children and their two friends. K.P., a Black teenager, and his two Hispanic friends were sitting in the bed of the truck. They were the only people visible in the truck due to Mr. Pigott’s tinted windows. Upon stopping his truck and opening his door, Mr. Pigott was immediately faced with a gun pointed at him without any warning or explanation.
A few minutes later, another law enforcement officer arrived at the scene who immediately tried to deescalate the situation. The officer conducted a pat down of Mr. Pigott and only then did Gintz finally lower the gun he was aiming at Mr. Pigott, and the children were able to put their hands down.
Mr. Pigott was never accused of or charged with any crime. The Pigotts suffered and continue to suffer from serious mental and emotional harms due to the actions of Mr. Gintz.
The complaint is online here.