NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - “At approximately 5:13, a Parole and Probation Agent as well as a Levee Board Officer were working a security detail at Saks Fifth Avenue, at which time they were investigating some possible shoplifters,” says NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson.
Police say the detail officers were escorting the accused shoplifters, two women, out of the store Friday afternoon, when they jumped into a vehicle with 38-year-old Kenneth Thompson.
Thompson, they say, was the get-away driver, and they took off onto Canal Street where the vehicle got stuck in traffic.
According to the warrant, Officer # 1, a Probation and Parole Agent, ran in front of the vehicle with his gun drawn and ordered everyone to get out of the car. At that point, Officer # 2, arrived and began removing the women from the vehicle when the warrant states, “one of the women fled back into the front passenger seat and yelled to Thompson to run over Officer # 1”.
Police say Thompson bumped the Parole and Probations Agent with the vehicle, pushing him backwards. The officer fired three shots into the windshield of the car.
“The driver sustained a gunshot wound to the right shoulder. He has been transported to the hospital where he is in stable condition,” says Superintendent Ferguson.
Police arrested Thompson and booked him with aggravated assault with a vehicle on a peace officer and resisting an officer with force. A Magistrate Judge set his bond at $17,500. The NOPD is leading the investigation into what happened.
“Any law enforcement officer that’s working a detail has an obligation to enforce the law and an obligation to arrest those law breakers. Probation and Parole agents have arrest powers and the obligation and responsibility to enforce the law,” says Eric Hessler.
PANO attorney Eric Hessler says the responsibility of a detail officer does not stop at the door of the business.
“You have to do what’s necessary to apprehend someone who may flee or may resist arrest and of course, take in consideration your surrounding circumstances to see what level of force you’ll encounter,” says Hessler.
We reached out the Department of Corrections and Saks Fifth Avenue for comment but they referred us to the NOPD.