NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A driver accuses a Causeway Police officer of using excessive force with him during a minor traffic stop.
He said the officer was so aggressive that he decided to pull out his cell phone to capture the incident on video. The driver, who didn't want us to show his face or use his name, said he filed a complaint with the Causeway Police Department after the officer pulled him over.
The traffic stop happened in September as he made his way home from work. He was on Jefferson Highway making a left turn on to Clearview.
"Took my turn and all of a sudden as I was going onto the service road to get onto Clearview, I saw these blue lights flying up behind me, then he jumps on his intercom, 'Pull over driver, pull over,' right up behind me," said the driver.
He said the officer's aggression prompted him to put his cell phone in his cup holder and start recording.
"It was very intimidating, he was screaming at me to put my hands out of the window. Didn't feel right, I was scared, I was really scared, his hand never left his gun. The only time it did leave his gun is when he got me out of the truck, put me up on the side of my truck and aggressively frisked me in areas that I wasn't comfortable with," the driver said.
In his complaint to the Causeway Police Department, the driver said the officer used intimidation, excessive force and abused his power. He said the police department responded with a letter saying it completed its internal investigation of his complaint against the officer and stated that after reviewing the facts, "necessary action will be taken."
"I put in the report that if I had a suggestion it would be for him to get some continued training on how to deal with the public, kind of qualify crimes, you know? My thought process was, if he did this to me because he said I didn't use a blinker, what does he do to speeders?" said the driver.
Causeway Police Chief Nick Congemi released this statement about the incident:
"On January 4, 2017, the Causeway Police Department completed a comprehensive internal investigation, following standard protocol resulting from a citizen complaint filed September 29, 2016. The citizen involved was stopped and ticketed for violation of LA RS 32:104 (failure to use a turn signal) by Causeway Police Officer Tan Duong. The investigation, which included in-car and cell phone video, found no evidence of excessive force or intimidation by Officer Duong. For reasons found in the attached summation of findings, Officer Duong was placed on a two-day suspension. The matter has since been closed."
As for the driver, he said he went to court Monday to fight the ticket he got for not using his turn signal. He said the ticket was thrown out.