Posted: Mar 25, 2014 5:19 PM by Chris Nakamoto
Updated: Mar 26, 2014 9:13 AM
NEW ROADS - A New Roads Police Officer may have violated the law when he handcuffed and detained a volunteer firefighter and first responder Monday night during an emergency.
Witnesses said it stemmed from the firefighter refusing to move his fire truck because he was rendering aid to the patient.
The call came in around 10 p.m. in the 100 block of Cherry Street. Joyce Harris watched everything unfold at her neighbor's house.
"This is very disheartening, very disappointing and very embarrasing," Harris said.
Surveillance cameras at the Housing Authority in New Roads captured it all. A volunteer firefighter was first on the scene on Cherry Street. In the video, you can clearly see his emergency lights flashing while his fire truck was parked.
Paramedics arrived seconds later, followed by a New Roads Police officer.
Harris said that the moment the New Roads officer showed up he demanded that the volunteer firefighter move his truck from the street as the lights flashed. When he didn't, he was placed in handcuffs and put in the back of a police car for nearly 15 minutes.
"I think what his problem was, was an ego thing," Harris said. "He's not listening to me because I'm in authority and he should have moved faster when I told him to. I don't think it was fair. I don't think that's right."
At least one paramedic who could not go on camera told News 2 it was one of the most unprofessional things he's witnessed in his career.
News 2 has learned the New Roads Police Department did not pick up a copy of the surveillance video that we obtained. Police Chief Kevin McDonald said the issue has been resolved, but he wouldn't elaborate.
News 2 waited for nearly two hours trying to talk to McDonald on camera. Ultimately he told News 2 his higher ups instructed him not to do an interview, then walked out and pulled off in his SUV.
McDonald did say the officer in question won't be disciplined. However, people like Harris believe he should be.
"I think he should be fired," Harris said.
According to state law, RS 14:327, "It shall be unlawful for any person...intentionally hindering, delaying, hampering, interfering with, or impeding the progress of any regularly employed member of the fire department...or any volunteer fireman."
If convicted of violating that law, there are hefty fines and possible jail time.
After Monday night's incident, Harris now worries about what could happen the next time there's an emergency.
"They are supposed to protect and serve life, and here they are arresting the people that's trying to help," Harris said. "I didn't think that was fair and right."
The New Roads Fire chief did not return our calls for a comment on this story.