Thibodaux councilwoman "frustrated" with police, mayor - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Thibodaux councilwoman "frustrated" with police, mayor

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Thibodaux Councilwoman Constance Johnson Thibodaux Councilwoman Constance Johnson

Thibodaux, La. - In January, Thibodaux Councilwoman Constance Johnson called on the FBI to investigate Thibodaux police.  Her request came after Police Captain Calvin Cooks sued members of the department and the city.

Cooks claimed the mayor and chief ruined his reputation, unfairly accusing him of slashing dozens of tires on police cars.

The FBI hasn't gotten involved, but Johnson says she's received more than 30 complaints of bullying by Thibodaux police since her request.

"When you are setting up people in this city to get a count, increasingly large numbers now on DWI's and other areas, then there's a concern and many have raised a question and nothing is being said," she says.

Johnson says it happened to her. She and her husband were pulled over late one night for a burned-out headlight.

"My bulb for that light was sitting on a dashboard in a pack and I responded because my husband was driving and I say, 'Oh the bulb, it's right here. I just didn't get a chance to put it in,'" says Johnson. "He wrote me a citation."

Johnson claims complaints of unfair targeting are coming from all over the city.

Thibodaux police would not comment on Johnson's latest allegations but their data shows, of all the traffic stops made in 2012, 58 percent resulted in warnings, not tickets.

The police department uses what's called the DDACTS approach, a data-driven method of targeting hot spots for crashes and criminal activity.

After police stopped Johnson for the burned-out headlight, the department worked with her to come up with a new policy. Now people have seven days to fix an equipment problem to avoid the ticket.

Officers say Johnson did not have to pay the fine. But she feels the police department and mayor aren't listening to her concerns.

"We have some serious, serious issues, serious alleged allegations yet the mayor does not want to talk and he's not listening," she says.

Mayor Tommy Eschete won't talk to Johnson about the police department because, he says, it all goes back to Captain Cook's pending lawsuit.

He told FOX 8, "I don't have time to respond to her ridiculous accusations."

Eschete says he'll wait for the truth to come out in court. A date for the civil suit has not been set.

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