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Deputy involved in deadly shooting dropped from previous lawsuit alleging excessive force

2 days 21 hours 1 minute ago Wednesday, September 18 2019 Sep 18, 2019 September 18, 2019 5:53 PM September 18, 2019 in News
Source: WBRZ

UPDATE: On September 18, 2019, Federal Judge Shelly Dick dismissed Vance Matranga and West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Mike Cazes from the lawsuit. The judge granted the plaintiff's attorney, Oliver Hadley, 30 days to amend his lawsuit.

Hadley said the sheriff can be added back in, and he intends to do that. Matranga has been dismissed completely. Hadley said he respects the court's decision.

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PORT ALLEN - Videos obtained by the WBRZ Investigative Unit Monday show what attorney Oliver Hadley describes as "bad behavior" on the part of Deputy Vance Matranga with the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office.

Matranga is the same deputy who was executing a search warrant with the River West Task Force at the Budget 7 Motel in Port Allen last month, when he shot and killed Josef Richardson. Autopsy results showed Richardson was shot in the back of the neck.

Last week, the sheriff's office publicly released Matranga's name as the shooter.

Prior to that happening, the WBRZ Investigative Unit sent a public record requests to the entities involved about Matranga's background.

Monday, videos were released to WBRZ that appear to show an encounter with Fredrick Johnson in 2016 that is now the focus of a federal lawsuit. At least one of the videos appears to show a take-down filmed from a gas station's surveillance cameras.

WBRZ is not able to confirm the identity of the law enforcement officer in the video, but Attorney Oliver Hadley of New Orleans said it's Matranga violently tackling his client, Fredrick Johnson, to the ground. Hadley claims that tackle ultimately broke Johnson's leg.

In the lawsuit, Hadley names the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office, Vance Magtranga and a number of other officers from the Port Allen Police Department, claiming they used excessive force. The lawsuit alleges, "...officers far exceeded a reasonable and necessary level of force, specifically, hitting Johnson with their car and breaking one of his legs."

The videos we obtained do not show Johnson being hit by a car, but they do give perspective into what happened. According to the body camera videos we reviewed, Johnson refused to obey commands from a Port Allen police officer. The officer then chased after Johnson and deployed her taser. Johnson ran away, and Hadley said Johnson was ultimately tackled by Matranga.

Matranga is seen on body camera, but the moment of the tackle was not captured.

"He's complaining about an ankle injury," an officer was recorded saying.

Hadley said that same officer waived his client's right to medical treatment, and he was booked into jail without being properly examined.

"I think that based on that happened to Mr. Johnson, coupled with what we know about this latest incident, goes to show a pattern and practice of bad behavior," Hadley said.  "We will get answers and those responsible will be held accountable."

Court records show Matranga's latest shooting has caused delay in the federal case involving Johnson. A court gave all sides more time to gather evidence and conduct interviews with Matranga by September.

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