- Associated Press - Monday, December 22, 2014

CROWLEY, La. (AP) - A Crowley attorney claims that police held his two children at gunpoint and shocked him repeatedly with a stun gun when responding to a call from a neighbor who mistakenly thought she heard someone in distress.

The Advocate (https://bit.ly/1zNmeIb ) reports the lawsuit against the city of Crowley, its police chief and four officers was filed Friday. That’s two days after a grand jury indicted the attorney, 45-year-old Clay LeJeune, (le JOON’) and his wife, 40-year-old Mitzi LeJeune, for threatening and arguing with police during the May 25 incident.

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages for civil rights violations, also alleges Crowley Police Chief K.P. Gibson might have had a vendetta against LeJeune and his wife because “they knew of certain personal indiscretions” of the chief.

The couple’s attorney in the civil case, Clay Burgess, declined to elaborate on the allegation.

Gibson wrote in an email that he did not know what “indiscretions” were being referenced.

“He hasn’t addressed anything with me,” Gibson said.

Police were responding to a report that someone in the backyard might have been screaming “help me,” said Barry Sallinger, the couple’s defense attorney in the criminal case.

Sallinger said the neighbor likely heard the couple’s teenage daughter yelling “daddy,” calling her father to help her capture the family’s Yorkshire terrier after the dog escaped from an electronic fence.

“The indictments come on the heels of a home invasion and how a good family reacted to it,” Sallinger said Thursday.

The lawsuit alleges that officers made no effort to speak to the 911 caller but instead kicked in the door to the home with guns drawn, and in the confrontation that followed, officers took LeJeune to the ground and shocked him with a stun gun at least three times while he was being held face down on his front porch, with one officer yelling a string of profanities.

Gibson said he stands by his officers, but he declined comment on the allegations.

In the indictment returned Wednesday, LeJeune faces three counts of public intimidation, accused of threatening the officers, and two counts of resisting a police officer with force or violence. Mitzi LeJeune is charged with public intimidation.

Clay LeJeune works as a contract defense attorney for the 15th Judicial District Public Defender’s Office. Mitzi LeJeune, also known as Mitzi Mayeaux, is an attorney and works as a law clerk for 15th Judicial District Judge Thomas Duplantier.

The state attorney general’s office is prosecuting the case.

Attorney G. Paul Marx, who oversees the public defender’s office, said Friday he did his own review of the May 25 incident and has come to the conclusion the police chief “seems to have lost command and control” of his officers.

“Unlike the chief, I took the time to investigate the matter, but having done so, I’m backing up this talented attorney and his family because the facts show his anger at a home invasion was justified, and arresting people for their words in response to illegal action is nonsense,” Marx said. He said LeJeune will continue to work as a public defender.


Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com



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