Fired Baton Rouge officer accused of beating LSU student loses appeal

Officer Marshall McDermitt
Officer Marshall McDermitt
Updated: Oct. 26, 2020 at 9:10 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Former Baton Rouge Police Officer Marshall McDermitt will not be reinstated to the force after being caught on camera bloodying an LSU student outside of a Tigerland bar.

The Baton Rouge Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board, the body which hears appeals on discipline among firefighters and police officers, ruled unanimously to uphold a firing decision made by Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul in the aftermath of the incident.

Bystanders captured video of McDermitt hitting LSU student, Mark Patterson, multiple times in a matter of seconds during the arrest in Tigerland in April of 2019.

Patterson’s injuries included a deviated septum, which will require facial plastic reconstructive surgery, as well as teeth repair, according to a federal lawsuit filed by Patterson.

The lawsuit states Patterson also suffers “persisting neurological damage” due to a closed head injury.

The extent of that injury is still being assessed, according to the lawsuit, which also notes Patterson may be permanently disfigured.

McDermitt explained in the police report that he was doing a routine patrol when an employee at a bar near LSU flagged him down, saying Patterson was fighting bouncers and refusing to leave the bar.

Patterson’s lawsuit tells a different story.

It states Patterson and his friends were leaving the bar when several bouncers from the bar started a fight with one of Patterson’s friends “without warning.”

Patterson’s friend was left unconscious during the altercation, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit goes on to state McDermitt was called to the bar by the bouncers. Body camera footage shows Patterson complying with McDermitt’s command for Patterson to walk away from the bar, the lawsuit states.

After arriving, McDermitt tackled and punched Patterson “directly in the face no less than ten times,” according to the lawsuit.

BRPD officials completed an internal investigation into the incident. McDermitt was given a chance to defend himself in a pre-disciplinary hearing sometime afterward. He was later fired for violating BRPD policies related to use of force, truthfulness, conduct unbecoming of an officer, carrying out orders, and falsification of documents.

According to The Advocate newspaper, other alleged instances of misconduct involving McDermitt date back as far as 2016.

In 2018, BRPD Chief Murphy Paul suspended McDermitt for two days for the officer’s repeated uses of profanities during traffic stops. The suspension came after BRPD reviewed multiple hours of body camera footage from McDermitt.

In one incident from November of 2017, McDermitt responded to a call for assistance from another officer after a driver refused to stop, the newspaper reported. The driver crashed into a creek and ran off.

His body camera captured McDermitt repeatedly calling the suspect a “b**ch” during the ensuing chase as McDermitt told another officer to “tase the fuc*ing b**ch,” according to the newspaper report.

Chief Paul, in suspending McDermitt, wrote that he found “a pattern of behavior [that] may violate department policy,” the newspaper report said.

During another incident that led to his suspension, McDermitt used profanity with a handcuffed suspect, saying, “You’re a big motherfuc*er and I’m not the one you want to fu*k with,” The Advocate reported.

And in another case, McDermitt told a fleeing suspect to “fuc*ing stop or I’m gonna fuc* you up,” the newspaper report said.

McDermitt appealed his two-day suspension to the Baton Rouge Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board, but the board upheld the chief’s decision in that case as well.

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