Former Mamou Police Chief Gregory Dupuis probably did not realize that his abuse of jail inmates would eventually catch up with him.
The ex-cop has found himself sentenced to a year and a day behind bars for using a Taser on convicts who were complying with his orders.
More than five years ago, on April 25, 2010, Dupuis made his way to the department’s jail in order to deal with an inmate who was being verbally disruptive.
Before he entered the cell, the chief asked the noisy detainee to get down from his bunk and put his hands against a wall. Dupuis entered the cubicle as soon as his orders were obeyed.
In a palpable act of defying the law, he then deployed a taser on the non-resistant inmate. The perpetrator admitted that he knew what he was doing was illegal.
His victim doubled over in pain and fell to the ground; he also suffered a knee injury.
It is noteworthy that the decorated officer had served as chief for a total of 13 years over two separate tenures – the first from 1994 to 1997 followed by a 10 year stint from 2004 to 2014.
This week the Justice Department and US Attorney’s Stephanie Finley sentenced the 57-year-old for his use of excessive force on nonresistant inmates.
Another senior official, Dupuis’ successor as police chief, also admitted to a similar crime.
Police officer and Chief Robert McGee pleaded guilty to one count of violation of another person’s civil rights in 2010 before being elected the chief of the Mamou Police Department in 2014.
Less than four months after Dupuis had tasered a nonresistant inmate, McGee too deployed the weapon on an inmate whom he was having a conversation with.
The detainee posed no threat to anyone around him.
Just days before he pleaded guilty to his crime, McGee resigned from his position as police chief owing to the federal investigation.
He could face up to 10 years in prison, three years supervised release and a $250,000 fine.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta of the Civil Rights Division said the officers’ behavior was disappointing and no one can be considered above the law.
Even individuals in custody are protected by civil rights.
“The defendants abused the trust given to them as law enforcement officers when they engaged in a pattern of repeatedly tasing compliant detainees,” she commented