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Morgan City PD declares findings of internal investigation into September incident at Circle K

3 months 3 weeks 6 days ago Monday, November 06 2023 Nov 6, 2023 November 06, 2023 6:51 PM November 06, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

MORGAN CITY - On Monday, the Morgan City Police Department published the findings of an internal investigation into an incident that happened in September at a Circle K gas station. 

Officials said on Sept. 3, a large party was happening at the Patterson Civic Center. Fights broke out and four law enforcement agencies responded to get the crowd in control. Because of the commotion, the event ended early and the attendees dispersed. 

Police said some of the partiers ended up at a restaurant in Morgan City, but were turned away because the eatery was at capacity. The group then traveled to the parking lot of a nearby Circle K. Gas station attendees locked their doors to do inventory. They told officers that the people outside were throwing things and banging on the windows to get in. 

The Morgan City Police Department received complaints about how officers responded to the situation. The following are the findings of an internal affairs situation. 

Upon officers from the Morgan City Police Department arriving on scene, they requested assistance from the St. Mary Sheriff’s Office and Berwick Police Department due to the size of the crowd.

All law enforcement agencies on the scene attempted to disperse the unruly crowd to no prevail. Morgan City Police Department made the first arrest of an individual who refused to leave and was causing a disturbance. That officer was encircled by the crowd. Officers had to then draw their tasers as an act of force against the agitated crowd to get them to back up. After this arrest, officers continually attempted to have the crowd leave the closed business parking lot. During this time a physical altercation took place between two females. As officers attempted to arrest the individuals involved the crowd once again encircled the officers and attempted to pull a female away from officers who were attempting to handcuff her.

This is where the short, edited video on social media starts. An officer directs a fellow officer from Morgan City Police Department to “go get her” meaning to go arrest her. The reasoning was she was physically interfering with an officer attempting to detain one of the females involved in the fight.

At this point, the officer detains this female and begins handcuffing her. At this same time, another female begins pulling the detained female away from the officer. This female was leaning backward pulling on the detained female at which time an officer moved in to assist by delivering an open hand strike/push. A large crowd not depicted on the short edited social media post begins encircling the officers. The officers had their Tasers pointed at the crowd to move back. The crowd continues to move toward officers who are now backed up against a fuel pump. The officers wisely switched from his Taser due to the flammable combustible hazard surrounding them and moved to O.C. spray which is not a combustible hazard such as the Taser. The officer disperses the O.C. spray at the advancing crowd. The crowd finally begins to disperse from the parking lot. Officers opted to allow the crowd to disperse rather than make further arrests, this decision was made so the situation could de-escalate rather than escalate the situation.

After a lengthy internal investigation which included the review of surveillance cameras, body cameras, and witness statements, the Morgan City Police Department found that officers with the Morgan City Police Department did not violate any of the Morgan City Police Department's Rules and Regulations. This case was also reviewed by two Use of Force Instructors which found the officers used the minimal amount of force in the Use of Force Continuum.

I, as the Chief of Police, have ordered Investigators with the Morgan City Police Department to conduct a criminal investigation into those individuals who interfered with officers attempting to make arrest during this September 03, 2023, incident. Upon the conclusion of the criminal investigation, Investigators will obtain arrest warrants for those individuals involved.

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