Suit Filed Against Lafayette Parish Sheriff for Police Brutality

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A Complaint for Damages has been filed against Lafayette Parish Sheriff Michael W. Neustrom in United States District Court – Western District of Louisiana – Lafayette Division by the Law Offices of L. Clayton Burgess (http://www.clayburgess.com) on behalf of Jason Brungardt.

The nineteen page complaint lodged September 22, 2014 (Case 6:13-cv-02778) list Sheriff Michael W. Neustrom, Brandon Gallien, Michael G. McSheffrey, Scarla N. Celestine and Adrian Theriot as defendants. According to the allegations contained in the complaint the incident occurred on April 7, 2014 at the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center located at 916 Lafayette Street; Lafayette, Louisiana while complainant, Jason Brungardt, was awaiting booking. Prisoners are generally seated in the area known as “open booking” together where they are under sight and sound supervision of booking officers and video surveillance. For reasons which are not stated in the complaint Mr. Brungardt was escorted to an area where visibility is restricted. While locked in the cell Mr. Brungardt placed his foot over the drain hole of the toilet and flushed the toilet.

The complaint further alleges that Mr. Brungardt was instructed to cease his actions and complied. After complying with the commands of the deputy staff defendants Brandon Gallien and Michael McSheffrey entered into the cell and instructed Mr. Brungardt to lay down on the floor at which time he complied with the commands. The complaint alleges while being physically restrained by deputy staff and offering no resistance staff began to strike him. Mr. Brungardt continued to lay on the ground in agony offering no resistance while he was kicked approximately a dozen times. Mr. Brungardt was also pepper sprayed, rolled over on his back and while he continued to be struck by staff. At one point a staff member, identified in the complaint as Michael McSheffrey, intervened and said ‘he has had enough’.

The complaint alleges that Mr. Brungardt reported to staff that he was having difficulty breathing, but staff did not seem concerned with his health complaints. Instead Mr. Brungardt was placed in a “restraint chair”, a devise which restrains a person in a seated position by restraining their legs, arms and torso with straps. Approximately one hour after the attack Mr. Brungardt was transported to a local hospital where it was determined that he had suffered four full fractured ribs and a punctured lung. Mr. Brungardt remained hospitalized for three days before returning to the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center.

The complaint further alleges that staff involved in the incident took steps to disguise, deceive and cover-up their actions and/or involvement including falsifying information contained in their reports and/or deliberately misstating the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident.

According to the complaint one of the defendants, Adrian Theriot, failed to report the incident out of fear of retaliation, despite the allegation that he was involved in a close relationship with the daughter of the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy, Arthur Lebreton.

Defendants, Brandon Gallien, Michael G. McSheffrey, Scarla N. Celestine and Adrian Theriot, were terminated from employment by Lafayette Parish Sheriff Michael W. Neustrom and each was subsequently arrested on June 17, 2014 following an investigation conducted by the Louisiana State Police. All four were booked on charges of malfeasance in office, second-degree battery and were released on a $3,000.00 bond.

The Law Offices of L. Clayton Burgess handle a variety of personal injury cases in Louisiana and Texas. Our team of attorneys can assist you with you car accident, trucking accident, premise liability, police brutality and other personal injury claims. Our headquarters is located in Lafayette, Louisiana (http://www.clayburgess.com) with satellite offices in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (http://www.clayburgessbatonrouge.com) and Lake Charles, Louisiana (http://www.clayburgesslakecharles.com). Consultations are free, but by appointment only.

Complaint may be found at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/240612745/2014-09-22-Federal-Complaint

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