CASE #3 – Sampy v. Rabb et al.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana, alongside Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer US LLP and Kuchler Polk Weiner, LLC, is now representing Mr. Raynaldo Sampy—a Black man who was asleep and pulled from his parked truck, repeatedly thrown onto the pavement face first, and pinned down with officers’ knees on his neck, back, and legs. This brutal encounter, involving seven police officers, was in response to an erroneous report that Mr. Sampy had driven into an ice cooler outside of a convenience store—an impossibility, given that a steel guard rail protected the cooler from being struck by vehicles.

The amended complaint accuses the involved officers of using excessive force in violation of Mr. Sampy’s Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, among other claims. It seeks damages for the physical and emotional harm that Mr. Sampy endured, including stitches on his chin, a herniated disc, a dislocated shoulder, head trauma, and enduring psychological distress. The judge who presided over Mr. Sampy’s criminal proceedings arising from this incident remarked, “I don’t know that we’ve ever had a situation like this in my twenty something years that we’ve had to deal with a detention that got out of hand as this one did.”

“[W]hen police officers arrived on the scene, rather than assess it, they approached Mr. Sampy with the presumption of guilt, swiftly resorting to violence wholly disproportionate to the situation at hand. They beat Mr. Sampy for approximately seven minutes, leaving him with significant physical and emotional injuries, from which he still suffers to this day,” the amended complaint reads. “The brutalization of Black men is a scourge on our society. Mr. Sampy seeks to address it in this instance by holding those officers sworn to serve and protect him accountable for violating his constitutional and common law rights.”

In the early morning of May 5, 2018, Mr. Sampy was sleeping in his truck in front of a convenience store when a security guard at a nearby apartment complex called 911. Although he had not seen any actual collision, the security guard reported that a Black man in a truck had driven into an ice cooler and damaged it. The Lafayette Parish Communications District, the entity responsible for operating the 911 service that is also a defendant in this case, sent officers to the scene.

Despite the presence of the guard rail that would have led any reasonable person to conclude that Mr. Sampy had not committed the reported crime, the officers immediately resorted to excessive force. Many officers participated in the violence, while others stood by and failed to make any attempt to protect Mr. Sampy from the abuse he endured at the hands of their fellow officers. Because of the officers’ wrongful conduct—both in using excessive force against Mr. Sampy and in failing to intervene—the complaint alleges that all of the involved officers should be held liable for the harm that Mr. Sampy endured that night.

The defendants in the case are:

  • Jonathan Price Rabb, officer of the Lafayette Police Department
  • Brandon Lamar Dugas, officer of the Lafayette Police Department
  • Segus Ramon Jolivette, officer of the Lafayette Police Department
  • Michael Nicholas Darbonne, officer of the Lafayette Police Department
  • Asher Reaux, officer of the Lafayette Police Department
  • Jordan Kamal Colla, officer of the Lafayette Police Department
  • Ian Journet, officer of the Lafayette Police Department
  • Lafayette City Parish Consolidated Government
  • Lafayette Parish Communications District

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