Cops Under Fire for Putting Hundreds in Jail Without Probable Cause, Based on “Hunch”

Erik de la Garza | Courthouse News Service

(CN) –The Justice Department says police in a small Louisiana town routinely arrested and placed hundreds of residents in jail without probable cause based on a “hunch” or “feeling” that they were involved in criminal activity.

The U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division found in a report released last week that the Ville Platte Police Department and the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office used investigative holds to detain a “staggering” number of citizens who were “commonly detained for 72 hours or more without being provided an opportunity to contest their arrest and detention.”

The scathing report says both law enforcement agencies striped-searched individuals suspected of committing crimes, placed them in holding cells without beds, toilets, or showers, and denied them communication with family members and loved ones for days at a time.

“Instead, they are held and questioned until they either provide information or the law enforcement agency determines that they do not have information related to a crime,” the Dec. 19 report concluded.

Police in Ville Platte – a town with a population of 7,303 – conducted over 700 arrests and holds between 2012 and 2014 that were “not even ostensibly supported by probable cause,” according to the Justice Department.

Evangeline sheriff’s deputies used the illegal practice more than 200 times in that same time period, the 20-month federal probe found, noting that the number in both departments is likely underreported.

“Both EPSO and VPPD detectives acknowledged that they use investigative holds where they lack sufficient evidence to make an arrest, but instead have a ‘hunch’ or ‘feeling’ that a person may be involved in criminal activity,” the report states.

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 3181 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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  • LawrenceNeal

    This is almost laughable. Almost. But not surprising. The SA are a power unto themselves and abuse whatever they want.