BRPD Chief: Summons in gas station attack "mistake"
BATON ROUGE - Police Chief Carl Dabadie said today two people connected to what he called a "brutal" attack at a Baton Rouge gas station should have been arrested, not just ticketed.
"That was a mistake and an error of judgment," Dabadie said in a press release emailed this evening.
The incident happened Sunday evening and put one man in the hospital; his wife and teen daughter were also attacked. Police arrested one person, Donald Dickerson, whom they said told the male victim he was in the "wrong neighborhood."
Officers issued summons to Devin Bessey, 24, and Ashley Simmons, 22, whom they said were also involved in the attack.
"I do regret that two of the suspects were issued misdemeanor summonses at the scene instead of being booked," Dabadie said. "We have counseled the officers involved and I have re-emphasized to all my commanders that I expect offenders who commit misdemeanor crimes of violence will be booked into the prison, not summonsed."
The case caused a public outcry, and calls for the attackers to be charged with a hate crime. Police said the victims were white, and their attackers black.
Today, Dabadie said he had asked the FBI to accompany detectives during their investigation, and the decision on any federal charges would be up to them. The chief said BRPD's active investigation had concluded for now, but could be reopened if new evidence came to light.
Dickerson is in jail on battery charges. He's a registered sex offender, and was also charged with failing to register a new address with authorities.
News 2 will have more on this developing story at 5, 6 and 10.