Councilwoman's foul-mouthed, threatening tirade captured on body camera

Councilwoman's foul-mouthed, threatening tirade captured on body camera
Source: Body cam video

HAMMOND, LA (WVUE) - A North Shore councilwoman said her emotions got the better of her during a tirade caught on police body camera where she allegedly struck a man and used foul language toward him.

On April 11, Hammond Councilwoman Janice Beard called police about a man who was at a house near her home. Beard claimed the man was not supposed to be on the property.

"You're the voice of the people," an officer is heard saying in the video. Beard responded by calling the group near her home "criminal mother f*****s."

Beard struck the man in the leg with her phone, according to the report.

"Yeah, I'd like to smash his leg off," she said to officers.

Beard also made threatening remarks about taking an officer's gun and saying what she would do with it.

"Can I borrow your gun?" she asked an officer. "I would just love to put one right behind his ear."

With no action to get the man off the property, the councilwoman turned her attention to officers and said she voted to increase their pay.

"Don't talk to me any kind of way cuz I got the chief on speed dial," Beard told officers.

Beard declined an on-camera interview with FOX 8, but she said if she had to go back and handle the situation differently, she would.

She said she's "human and made a mistake." She also said the man she called police on has been a "menace and bad element" in her neighborhood for more than eight years, and said moments before police arrived, the man pointed a gun at her brother. Beard also argued that she never threatened the man's life.

The interaction ends with officers pleading with Beard to calm down

"You just got to watch your actions, please," an officer told Beard.

Officers then talk with the man, ask him to leave the property and agree not to press charges against the councilwoman.

"Man to man, are you willing to let this drop for the day?" the officer asked the man.

"It is a battery because she hit him without consent with an object, both a civil wrong and a criminal wrong as a battery," Tulane Law Professor Joel Friedman said.

Friedman watched the body cam footage of Beard's encounter. He said the councilwoman did not break the law when she threatened the man, but he found it concerning that she may have tried to use her position in office as leverage.

"You don't ask the police to take heightened action on your part because you're an elected official. That's an abuse of your authority, which she clearly did by reminding the policeman that she both was on the city council and that she had voted for a pay raise for the police department," Friedman said.

After the incident, the man involved in the encounter called police and said because of the councilwoman's threats he feared for his life, according to the police report.