NOPD investigates alleged officer involved beating of teen - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

NOPD investigates alleged officer-involved beating of teenager during Mardi Gras

Dylan Driggers Dylan Driggers

NOPD's Public Integrity Bureau is investigating whether officers who arrested an Alabama teenager during Mardi Gras weekend beat him up, then tried to cover it up.

The alleged incident happened at the 8th District police station.  The officers' account of what happened doesn't match the 19-year-old's story.  It also doesn't match the official records at Orleans Parish Prison.

19-year-old Dylan Driggers of Alabama was in town for his first Mardi Gras and on Bourbon Street Feb. 19, when he says someone pushed him from behind into a State Trooper.

"Somebody either pushed me or bumped into me and I fell over and I went to catch myself and I guess I knocked him over, and he thought I pushed him," says Driggers.

Next thing he knew, he was under arrest for public intoxication.

According to the police report, after a short struggle Driggers was handcuffed and taken to NOPD's 8th District station.

Driggers agrees he was placed on a bench inside to await further paperwork, but that's where his story and the official police report take sharply different turns.

According to the report, Driggers kicked NOPD Lieutenant Mike Field in the knee and spit at Sergeant Dupree, but it makes no mention of any physical altercation after that.

Even though the initial incident report says Driggers had no injury, the follow-up narrative says officers observed a small scrape on his forehead, so they called New Orleans EMS.

The teen tells FOX 8 his injuries were much worse, and he says they were the result of being roughed up by officers while handcuffed.

Driggers says, "I had seven or eight knots on my head, bruises on my back and a scrape on my head. I could tell I had been bleeding. I knew my nose had been bleeding."

The official police report goes on to say that, when the ambulance arrived, Driggers refused medical treatment, and that he was transported to central lockup where he was booked accordingly and turned over to Orleans Parish criminal deputies.

But Orleans Parish Prison records tell a different story, too.

According to the jail, NOPD officers brought the teenager to OPP at 3:10 a.m. on Feb. 19.  But when he arrived, prison officials refused to book him because he needed medical attention.

Records show NOPD officers left with Driggers, then came back three hours later at 6:14 a.m. with the appropriate medical paperwork.

Driggers says they took him to LSU Interim Hospital.

He says, "I was taken to the hospital in an ambulance because I was knocked unconscious. They took me in a waiting room and gave me a CAT scan. But if you look at the police report, that never shows up."

Sources say PIB investigators have questioned several officers at the 8th District.  Sources also tell FOX 8, they're trying to piece together surveillance video from that night that might have been taped over.

Driggers bonded out of jail, went back to Alabama and says, because he just wanted to get his case resolved, he didn't file a brutality complaint.  He doesn't know who did and was surprised to hear about the internal investigation.

He's still facing charges of public intoxication and simple battery on a police officer in New Orleans Municipal Court, but Driggers says he's looking forward to telling PIB investigators his side of the story.

The NOPD says it won't comment on an ongoing investigation.

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