Family of arrested ATV rider says Plaquemines deputies intended him harm
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The family of a teenager accused of intentionally crashing into a Plaquemines Parish deputy said Monday (Aug. 15) that police dashcam video proves their contention that the crash was unintentional.
Reginald Hamilton, 18, remains in jail with a traumatic brain injury sustained in the May 31 collision, according to family spokesperson Ashonta Wyatt. The family called for the teen’s bond $151,000 bond to be reduced, and for Sheriff Gerald Turlich to explain his deputies’ actions.
The injured deputy, Edmund Fisher, had to have his leg amputated as a result of the collision with Hamilton’s ATV, according to the sheriff’s office.
“We are very, very sympathetic to the injuries the officer sustained. But it is our stance that the officer placed himself in harm’s way, not the other way around,” Wyatt said.
Dashcam video edited and released by Hamilton’s attorney contradicts Sheriff Turlich’s original account of the incident, the family said.
The video shows Hamilton and his friend Kody Blanchard riding on Woodland Highway in the early morning hours. His family said the pair was returning from fishing.
In the video, which shows snippets of the initial chase, a deputy can be seen bumping into Hamilton’s vehicle with his PPSO vehicle. Hamilton’s family claims the full dashcam video shows the deputy bumping Hamilton multiple times.
“At that point, it was a flight mechanism in that child, and he ran,” Wyatt said.
The two ATV riders split up. As Hamilton rode onto the Woodland Bridge, Deputy Fisher can be seen standing in the middle of the roadway, his vehicle parked to the side.
Hamilton’s attorney Ryan Thompson alleged that deputies targeted Hamilton because of his race. They said the video clearly shows Fisher leaning in, extending his leg and appearing to try grabbing Hamilton as he drives by.
“The only thing he’s guilty of is driving an ATV while Black in Plaquemines Parish,” Wyatt said. “I believe that if Reginald Hamilton was an 18-year-old white kid, we wouldn’t be standing here. They had no intentions of allowing him to leave that parish alive.”
Fisher was knocked to the side and Hamilton was thrown off the ATV when they collided. His family said Hamilton laid on the ground for 20-25 minutes without receiving medical attention.
Hamilton’s family said his bond should be reduced, and threatened a federal lawsuit to hold the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office accountable for his injuries.
The PPSO declined to respond Monday to the allegations, saying, “As this case is still in the adjudication process, PPSO will not be making any additional comments.”
Turlich originally said Hamilton would face charges of attempted murder of an officer. But a grand jury returned only a lesser charge of second-degree aggravated battery.
“We maintain that both riders ... officers were trying to inflict great bodily harm on both of those young men,” Thompson said. “The Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office can release whatever it is they want to release. If they believe that what we’re sharing here today with you guys is not the full truth, we implore them to counter that.”
Thompson said he acknowledges Hamilton should face minor charges relating to driving his off-road vehicle on the roadway, but that all other charges should be dismissed.
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