Lafayette Police Chief Craft Responds To Excessive Force Video
LAFAYETTE, La. (KPEL) -- Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft is speaking out after video was aired Tuesday depicting two of his officers allegedly using "excessive force" on a suspect outside a downtown night club two years ago.
Craft says the two officers, identified in FBI documents as Cpl. Thaddeus Sices and Officer Joel Grayson, were responding to a fight that took place just after midnight on June 18, 2010. Police say the victim in that fight suffered facial injuries. Craft says police quickly identified the suspect as Morris Thomas, III, but when they approached him in the parking lot of Karma Night Club on Jefferson Street, police say Thomas was "screaming and yelling."
Craft says Thomas is seen in the video pulling away from the officers when they try to arrest him, forcing them to use force to take him into custody. Craft says one of those officers suffered a minor injury to his face.
Thomas filed a complaint with the department a couple weeks later, Craft says, sparking an Internal Affairs investigation. A day after the complaint was filed, July 9, 2010, Craft says investigators mailed a complaint form to Thomas for him to sign.
"Since that time," Craft says, "numerous attempts to get a statement and signature on the complaint form have been unsuccessful."
On September 8, 2010, Craft says surveillance video from the Karma Night Club was discovered. That video was handed over to Internal Affairs, who then sent it to an attorney for review. Then, on September 23, 2010, Craft asked the FBI to start their own investigation into the incident. On October 12, 2010, the FBI informed Craft of their investigation, and on November 19, 2010, the FBI asked for information related to the case, including the surveillance video. Finally, on August 11, 2011, Thomas pled guilty in district court to charges of simple battery and resisting an officer.
Craft says Thomas never followed through on his initial complaint, and a review of the video did not turn up a Lafayette Police Department violation.