25 Feb 2015
METAIRIE, La. — A physical altercation between a Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy and high school student who was being arrested has raised concerns from the ACLU after the confrontation was captured on video and posted on YouTube.
The video shows Deputy Nicholas Breaux punching 17-year-old high school student Brady Becker while the teenager grabs the deputy. It doesn’t show the moments before the altercation began or what precipitated the arrest.
The incident reportedly took place Friday, Feb. 13 just before 10 p.m. after a Metairie Mardi Gras parade in the 3300 block of Veterans Boulevard.
Becker, from Reserve, La., was booked with possession of alcohol by a minor, battery of a police officer, resisting arrest and inciting a riot, according to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Becker posted a $3,000 bond and was released the next day. He is scheduled to appear in court on March 30.
“We are not commenting on the incident,” said Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesman Col. John Fortunato. “We understand that the suspect has an attorney, and we are encouraging the attorney to come forward and file an official complaint if that’s what they intend to do. Without a complaint we are taking no action, and nothing has been filed yet. So we are not conducting an internal investigation at this time.”
Fortunato said Breaux is a detective assigned to the street crimes unit.
A police report states that the confrontation took place in the parking garage at Lakeside Mall after Becker, intoxicated and belligerent, began shouting obscenities at deputies.
“While walking past a large group of (individuals), the a/s (arrested subject) began screaming “F— the cops” multiple times,” the report states.
When Breaux and other plainclothes deputies approach the group, Becker “pushed Det. Breaux, at which time Det. Breaux escorted (Becker) to the ground into a prone position for handcuffing.”
The narrative states that Becker continued to strike at the deputy. But a 10-second video clip shows that Becker clearly got the worst of it as a deputy subdues him with at least four closed-fist punches to the face.
Becker’s booking mugshot shows he was left with two black eyes, one completely swollen shut, along with a laceration and bruising.
Marjorie Esman, director of the ACLU of Louisiana, said there is no police training to justify that type of response from a police officer.
“It certainly would appear that there was no need or justification for that kind of force. The video shows the deputy beating this young man around the head and face,” Esman said. “I can’t imagine that the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Department trains its officers to do that. And if they do, they need to revisit their training because that is not constitutional.”
The police report states that Becker was treated at a hospital for his injuries. Despite the video, Fortunato said no internal investigation will be launched against the deputy until there’s a formal complaint.
Esman said the sheriff’s office should launch a probe prior to any complaint. She said a full investigation would provide a clearer picture of what led up to the videotaped confrontation, possibly providing some justification for the deputy’s actions.
“I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t do an investigation,” Esman said. “When somebody is physically beaten in the way that that video shows, there ought to be an investigation to find out what happened and why.”
Breaux was one of several deputies named as defendants in a 2009 federal lawsuit filed by a then-Jefferson Parish inmate who alleged brutality. This lawsuit was settled out of court in 2012.