State Police to interview some Eunice officers

Several Eunice officers have appointments with State Police in Lafayette on Monday as part of Troop I’s investigation of a brutality complaint against the Police Department.

Police Chief Gary Fontenot also said the FBI has contacted him

about a complaint alleging a civil rights violation by an officer who has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the case.

He said he referred that agency to the State Police, which has 90 days to complete its investigation.

If State Police conclude a criminal action may have occurred, its findings go to the district attorney. Any findings regarding departmental procedural matters would be referred back to the city.

Joshua Andrus, 19, alleges he was beaten, kicked and sprayed with pepper spray while in handcuffs following his arrest April 14.

He also claims he was beaten on the police station parking lot when taken from a police cruiser.

Surveillance cameras record events on the parking lot on a continuous basis. It is not known what tapes from those cameras might have shown regarding the alleged incident.

The department changed its official complaint process earlier this year after determining that a number of claims about police misdeeds were unfounded.

Complaints now have to be filed with the chief or his assistant and the forms have to be completed in their presence by the victim, not by witnesses, relatives or friends.

The previous complaints alleged that some officers were targeting young black males.

Chief Fontenot asked other agencies to handle those investigations but they declined.

The department’s findings of no cause of action prompted some of the plaintiffs to contend that complaints investigated by officers who work with those accused are a waste of time.

“We have come to believe that internal investigations are a waste of time,” activist George Fisher said.

Fontenot took issue with that.

He said video of incidents at the heart of previous complaints exonerated the officer involved.

“If there is wrongdoing, I can’t have it. If it was my kid or your kid or anyone’s, you would want a fair shake. That’s what we want to provide and we don’t need George’s help to do it,” he said.

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