Justice for Sandra Carr

My name is Sandra Carr.  I was born and raised in Shreveport, Louisiana and have lived here my entire life.  My educational process began with Blanchard elementary.  I attended Northwood Jr. and Sr. high school. Later in adulthood, I attended Southern University at Shreveport with a major in Criminal Justice.  The next phase of my education consists of graduating from Wiley College of Marshall, Texas with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice Administration.  I currently hold a Master of Science in Criminal Justice from Grambling State University.  My entire educational process would be described as nontraditional student.  I am presently single with 4 adult children.  During leisure time, I enjoy designing jewelry and cooking.  Those who are close to me would agree that I am a defender, jovial, truth-seeker, trustworthy, and adventurous. 

The day of the incident, I had no idea that the individuals involved would flip the script on me. In hindsight, I would have taken a witness along with me.  My niece Latonya and I were in conversation on my way to the behavioral health agency.  My plans were to obtain my tax forms and prepare to file them.  On February 7, 2019 shortly after 4 p.m. I drove to Milestones Counseling Center, walked in and cordially greeted my former employer of six months along with the Licensed Professional Counselor. 

The owner sat in a chair behind the counter, and the counselor was standing behind the counter facing the owner.  Neither of them replied, therefore, it was necessary to state the nature of conducting business.  I politely inquired about my W2.  The owner tossed an 11 ½” x 14” manila envelope at me.  I questioned her reason for tossing the envelope at me.  The owner walked around the counter and got in my face then proceeded to put her finger in my forehead.  The owner started cursing calling me bitch.  Their bizarre behavior was definitely like nothing that I ever witnessed of them.  I began recording the owner.  She snatched my Galaxy S9 that my daughter purchased two weeks prior to the incident and tossed it across the room.  The counselor opened the door in pretense to calling the police.   I encouraged her to do so considering the owner assaulted me and snatched my property. 

The owner’s man who was sitting outside in a vehicle walked inside and inquired about the commotion.  He stood over six feet tall.  At that point, I began to question what would happen to me with being alone with the three of them. I told the owner that she needed to give me back my phone.  She retrieved the phone and discovered that it was not broken.  I attempted to snatch it back from her.  She shoved me; therefore, I started backing up in the direction of the door.  The owner retrieved the phone and discovered that it was not broken.  I started backing up towards the door.  The owner shoved me out of the door that the Licensed Professional Counselor left open. 

Once I was out of the building the three of them drove away.  I stood in the parking lot near the edge of the street flagging down drivers with hopes of using someone’s phone to call the police.  No one stopped so I drove up the street to a restaurant and used the employee’s phone.  My earring accidently disconnected the 911 call.  The operator called me back and dispatched an officer. Officer Washington along with another officer showed up.  He wrote the report up for Battery LRS# 14:35 and Theft LRS#14:67. A few weeks later, I received a voicemail to contact Detective Bailey.  He suggested that I meet with him at the police station to discuss the incident. 

The day that I sat down to speak with Officer Bailey was nightmarish. I was fatigued from being involved in a recent car accident.  In addition, I got off work the night before after 10 p.m.  My daughter was late picking me up; therefore, I did not get to bed until after 1 a.m.  I is evident that Detective Bailey may have assumed that I was not being truthful because of being jittery from lack of sleep and taking the anti-inflammatory that my Primary Care Physician prescribed.  It appeared as though the detective made his decision prior to me discussing what happened to me.  The owner previously showed him a partial text and stated that I harassed her.  I attempted to explain the bizarre behavior of the owner and counselor, but the detective was not hearing anything else that I had to say.  He handed me the summons. 

Detective Bailey charged me with Battery Simple LRS# 14:35 and Entry Remaining Forbidden LRS #14:63:3 UCR TRES.  I began praying and he stated that the interview was over.  He proceeded to walk me towards the door.  The following day I emailed Detective Bailey the entire text message conversation including the owner having final communication that states “Text my phone one more time.”  I also emailed a copy of my formal letter of resignation emailed to Ms. Hawkins.  In addition, I emailed the IP address for my Samsung Galaxy 9 along with text messages requesting money that she failed to pay behavioral health services. 

The first court appearance was set for August 22, 2019.  I appeared in court and briefly met with the public defender, Attorney Hamilton.  The appointment consisted of approximately 3 minutes.  She asked me how I was going to plead.  I answered with not pleading guilty.  Attorney Hamilton stated that with pleading guilty I would possibly receive probation.  My response was why would I plead guilty and lie on myself?  Shreveport City Court assigned another public defender.  Attorney Harville arranged an appointment to meet with him gather information to present at court.  I reiterated that which I stated to Attorney Hamilton.  In my opinion, it was ridiculous to plead guilty and lie on myself.

Weeks and months went by without being able to move beyond being falsely accused. It was time to do my own investigating.  Ms. Hawkins stated to the police that she fired me for Medicaid Fraud.  I contacted Louisiana Attorney General Office to determine if a case was pending against me for Medicaid Fraud.  I was informed that there were not any records of such.   The next phone call that I made was to the Medicaid insurance provider.  That phone call was a significant factor that would shed light as to why Ms. Hawkins failed to pay me.  The representative provided a summary indicating that the agency lost coverage on July 12, 2018. 

Every detail of what appeared to be obscure was coming together over time.  I finally got my hands on the police Narrative after asking Attorney Hamilton for a copy.  She stated that I was unable to receive a copy of my charges.  That did not set well with me.  It did not make sense that I couldn’t see the charges brought against me.  I asked for a copy from Attorney Harville and he provided me with a copy.  At that point, I decided to reopen my Unemployment case with First Judicial Court in Caddo Parish.  Louisiana Workforce Commission Unemployment Law Judge Gilmore denied benefits because in 2018 because Ms. Hawkins had me classified as 1099.  I submitted the employment application online through Indeed.  There was not any information about being an independent contractor or 1099.  Besides, I completed the L4 and W2 forms and met for weekly supervision with Dr. Wheeler, LPC, Ms. Hawkins, owner, and C.O.O Ms. Foster.  During the court case process, I chose to self-represent considering the cost of retaining an attorney. 

With hopes of gaining answers as to why detective Bailey violated my 1st and 5th Amendment Rights, I reached out to Shreveport Police Internal Affairs.  The investigator sent a letter with the Chief of Police Raymond signature affixed stated that Detective Bailey properly completed the investigation.  Again, it was stunning how no one seemed to listen intently.  I explained to Attorney Harville that Detective Bailey stated that he believed the statements of Hawkins and Wheeler because I was speaking in tongues.  I explained to Attorney Harville that praying in tongues according to what I believe is in line with Jude 20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, (KJV). 

During the Answer, the owner of the agency stated that I submitted my letter of resignation on September 27, 2018.

She previously went to the Shreveport Police Department and filed a false report stating that she fired me for being intoxicated on the job and Medicaid fraud.  The counselor licensed in the State of Louisiana as a Licensed Professional Counselor stated to detective Bailey that I was fired for being intoxicated on the job.  Everything that I attempted to explain to Detective Bailey and Attorney Bailey was in place.  I contacted Attorney Harville to present the new evidence that was in my possession.  He received the information and placed it in my file.  At that point attempting to argue on behalf of my innocence was to no avail.  The Shreveport City Court assigned a different public defender, Attorney Ferris. 

The 3-minute interview with Attorney Ferris went similar to the rest of them.  I assured him that I wasn’t going to plead guilty and lie on myself.  A few months later I was reassigned Attorney Harville.  Nothing changed, but the date.  I stated to the attorney that it appeared as if he was acting as the prosecutor and not the public defender.  Attorney Harville instructed me to appear for the next trial date.  Covid 19 pandemic interrupted the scheduled trial.   

Near the court date, I contacted the clerk’s office to determine which public defender would be representing me.  For the fourth time a different public defender was assigned.  I phoned Attorney Jackson and suggested that he view evidence within my file that would prove that Hawkins and Wheeler were deceitful.  Finally, on September 23, 2020 I was prepared to look my accusers in the face and see if there was any sign of remorse.  I went through 31 months of waiting for the plaintiff and defendant to stand up in court declaring to “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing, but the truth so help you God.  To my surprise, neither of them showed up.  Shreveport City Prosecutor Attorney Ray dismissed the charges Nolle Prosequi. 

Although false charges were behind me, the effects left financial and emotional strain.  The owner Ms. Hawkins owed me for services that I rendered from July 12, 2018 through September 3, 2018.  In addition, she misclassified my filing status.  The Louisiana Unemployment Office denied benefits.  I applied for Pandemic Assistance and denied due misclassification.  There was a snowball of hardship connected to the false charges.   My daughter and I experienced hardships could have been avoided.  Family and friends suggested that I put all of this behind me and move on with my life.  My heart goes out to innocent people who are incarcerated and unable to have their cases reopened.  I think about innocent people who were encouraged to plead guilty if by doing so offered probation or a lighter sentence.  It’s easy to be charged with a crime, but difficult to prove your innocence. 

The experience that I had with the judicial system has changed my perception.  I believe that Detective Bailey believed Ms. Hawkins because she had an untruthful white woman as a witness.  It makes sense as to why people that I talk to lack confidence in the judicial system.  The state of Louisiana has the largest prison system in the nation.  I can’t help to wonder about the number of people incarcerated who are innocent.  Detectives should not deem people guilty based upon their religious rights.  In addition, detectives should tell citizens at the beginning of the interview that they are going to record.  Detectives should grant everyone the right of protection against self-incrimination.  It should be required for public defenders to spend more than 3 minutes with a client.  How is it possible to represent someone who you have not properly interviewed?

My advice to someone experiencing a similar incident is to never give up, make phone calls, recall dates, re-read the Narrative for evidence that could prove your innocence.  Get a dependable family or friend to listen to your story for accuracy.  Reach out to nonprofit groups that fight for equality.  I’m thankful that Attorney Jackson was that one person who actually read the entire Narrative and listened to me.  Again, I hope my story impacts someone to shed awareness on how easy it is to incriminate someone.  

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