Attorney for Alabama teen talks about NOPD custody

Dylan Driggers
Dylan Driggers

The attorney for an Alabama teen  suing NOPD officers and the city over an alleged beating and cover-up, says the family just wants answers.

"They feel like Dylan lost 48 hours of his life over this," says New Orleans attorney Stephen Haedicke. He's talking about his client, 19 year old Dylan Driggers of Alabama and his 2012 Mardi Gras trip to New Orleans, that went from a fun time on Bourbon Street to the teen being under arrest.

Police say he was disturbing the peace.

Last May, Driggers told Fox 8 otherwise.

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

He says that state trooper handcuffed him and took him to the NOPD's 8th district station.

While there and chained to a bench, the police report says Driggers kicked Lt. Mike Field and spit in his face, then spit at Sgt. Jerome Dupre.

Driggers denies that, and claims the officers knocked him unconscious.

"Assuming he did what they claim he did, police officers aren't allowed to exact vengeance on people chained to a bench in their police station,"  says Haedicke, who filed a federal lawsuit alleging Driggers' civil rights were violated.

But the case alleges more than just brutality. It also alleges a cover-up.

Orleans Parish Prison wouldn't take Driggers at the jail because of his visible injuries and told police to take him to the hospital first.

Nowhere is that mentioned in the initial police report.

It wasn't until 6 hours after his arrest that he was booked at Central Lockup.

For another part of the alleged cover-up, the lawsuit points a finger at 8th District Commander Jeff Walls.

"What I'm gathering is there was an attempt to destroy or hide surveillance video at the 8th district which would have shown exactly what happened," says Haedicke.

Ironically, it wasn't Driggers who initially tipped off investigators, which is another reason his attorney says he's determined to get to the bottom of what really happened.

"It's a very positive thing that this case was initiated by other officers. That's a positive moment in the NOPD's culture," says Haedicke. "But you have to wonder if this will keep going if the officers feel like they're rebuffed or nothing happens."

The NOPD doesn't comment on pending litigation.

Meanwhile, Driggers is still facing charges in Municipal Court for battery on a police officer and disturbing the peace.

If convicted of battery, he's looking at a mandatory 15 days in jail.

His trial is March 26th.