- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 4, 2015

NEW IBERIA, La. (AP) - A Jeanerette woman has filed a wrongful-death suit in federal court against Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal and the deputy who arrested her child’s father.

The lawsuit says Victor White III died from a single gunshot wound while handcuffed in the back seat of the deputy’s car.

The Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/1M50nhQ) Shandell Bradley’s attorneys allege Ackal fails to adequately train his deputies and tolerates excessive uses of force and unreasonable searches, which resulted in White’s death on March 3, 2014.

The suit also claims Cpl. Justin Ortis, who arrested White that night, beat him and was negligent in failing to protect White’s safety while he was in custody.

Maj. Ryan Turner, a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office, said the agency had not been made aware of the suit as of Tuesday afternoon, but he did confirm Ortis is still employed as a deputy there.

White’s family strongly disputes the Sheriff’s Office and coroner’s claims that the 22-year-old shot himself.

Among the allegations lodged against Ackal in the suit is that he hires and retains deputies “with demonstrable propensities for excessive force, violence, negligence and other misconduct,” tolerates that conduct and encourages his deputies “to believe that they can violate” people’s rights without adversely affecting their employment or opportunities for promotion.

A dollar amount related to funeral costs, emotional distress and the loss of both White’s financial support and emotional care of the child was not specified in the suit, but it requests “an amount sufficient to make an example of those Defendants and to deter future misconduct.”

It also requests a trial-by-jury.


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

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