A frightening video was released, prompting demands for the resignation of the Hammond police chief. It shows many cops slamming boots and knees into a man's face and neck as other officers kick and punch him mercilessly. The victim, Kendrick Ratliff, was shackled the whole time and unable to defend himself, much alone constitute a danger to the cops.
Seth Stoughton, an attorney and former police officer who teaches at the University of South Carolina School of Law, appeared before the Hammond City Council last week, alleging that the video of Ratliff's beating is "among the most egregious uses of force" he has ever studied.
The event occurred on Dec. 6, 2017, and despite the graphic footage, FBI inquiry, and expert evidence, not a single cop involved has received even a wrist slap. Indeed, one of them was raised to the rank of chief.
The video, which was released to local ABC station WBRZ, portrays gruesome and unlawful behaviour. The police chief and the city have refused to recognise the footage after it was made public. This is despite the fact that the footage was leaked by police inside the department.
"We are shocked and disturbed that Hammond Police Chief Edwin Bergeron and Mayor Pete Panepinto have yet to provide a comment about the incidences," the state, Hammond area, and Baton Rouge NAACP chapters wrote in a joint letter to WBRZ.
Ratliff, who was detained for "obstructing a walkway," was seated peacefully in a chair while being booked into prison, as the video shows. He then took the heinous choice to rise up and try to retrieve the bottle of tablets that had been seized by authorities. That is when the mayhem began.
When Ratliff attempts to seize the drugs, a cop yanks him over the desk and pushes him between the desk and a row of computers, before unleashing a fist storm on the shackled and defenceless man's face.
Additional officers enter the room and zap the bound guy. He is fully immobilised and pinned down by one cop's foot to the face and another cop's knee to the neck when another officer approaches from behind and kicks his testicles. Ratliff is assaulted and basically tormented for almost a minute while handcuffed.
Following the event, no mention was made of the footage, leaving Ratliff and the inhabitants of Hammond in the dark. Even worse, the NAACP was informed that the video did not exist.
"When I initially viewed the video, the first thing that sprang to me was how heinous that was," NAACP President Eugene Collins said. "Knowing the NAACP helped in resolving the problem a few years ago, when we were under the impression that video did not exist...only snippets."
According to WBRZ, just one of the cops involved was penalised, and the department then recruited an attorney and use of force specialist to analyse the surveillance tape, who decided that some acts were permissible.
"I was beaten, stomped, and kicked in the crotch," Ratliff told WBRZ.
Another cop, Edwin Bergeron, was not reprimanded despite being observed repeatedly hitting Ratliff in the head. Rather than that, as previously claimed, he was elevated to the police chief. This was despite the fact that a review into his use of force concluded that his actions were "excessive and almost illegal."
The NAACP local chapters said in their letter requesting the chief's resignation, "This conduct is heinous enough, but it was coupled by a clear falsehood by your Police Department that the leaked video did not exist." Years later, honourable officers with the Hammond Police Department disclosed the disputed footage and report. In light of what we now know, we demand Chief Edwin Bergeron's immediate resignation."
According to the LA Illuminator, Stoughton said that just two of the ten instances of force seen in the video were acceptable in light of the circumstances. He found the other eight actions "irrational and excessive," with up to four being "egregiously illogical and excessive."
One of the most heinous, Stoughton said, came at the incident's conclusion, when Dunn stomped Ratliff's face five times as Ratliff lay on his side with his wrists chained behind him.
"This is manifestly irrational," Stoughton said. "It is one of the most heinous acts of force I've seen in evaluating an incalculable number of instances."
The video below demonstrates that even illegal activities seen on tape, such as a cop viciously beating a restrained guy, would not discourage officers from rising up the ranks of law enforcement. Indeed, it will not hinder you from becoming the town's top officer.