On The Front Lines
Rutherford Institute Sues Police Over 'Broken Taillight' Traffic Stop That Resulted in Driver Being Punched, Beaten, Arrested and Hospitalized
SHREVEPORT, La. — The Rutherford Institute has filed a Fourth Amendment lawsuit on behalf of a young African-American man who, after being stopped by Louisiana police for a broken taillight, was allegedly thrown to the ground, beaten, arrested and hospitalized for severe injuries to his face and arm, all for allegedly “resisting arrest” by driving to a safe, well-lit area before stopping. In coming to the defense of Gregory Tucker, Rutherford Institute attorneys argue that the City of Shreveport and four of its police officers violated Tucker’s constitutional rights when they allegedly retaliated against him by using grossly excessive force in connection with what should have been a routine traffic stop.
Affiliate attorney Gregory J. Chiartano assisted The Rutherford Institute with the lawsuit in Gregory V. Tucker v. City of Shreveport, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana. The Rutherford Institute’s complaint in Tucker v. City of Shreveport is available at www.rutherford.org.
“What this case makes clear is how easy it is for Americans to be charged with any of the growing number of contempt of cop charges (ranging from resisting arrest and interference to disorderly conduct, obstruction, and failure to obey a police order) that get trotted out anytime a citizen exhibits anything short of total compliance to the police state,” said constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute and author of Battlefield America: The War on the American People. “Unfortunately, the price of standing up for one’s constitutional rights—or even attempting to protect oneself against police misconduct—grows more costly by the day, with Americans getting probed, poked, pinched, tasered, tackled, searched, seized, stripped, manhandled, arrested, shot, or killed. This case is a chilling reminder that in the American police state, ‘we the people’ are at the mercy of law enforcement officers who have almost absolute discretion to decide who is a threat, what constitutes resistance, and how harshly they can deal with the citizens they were appointed to ‘serve and protect.’”
In the early morning hours of December 1, 2016, an officer with the City of Shreveport Police Department spotted Gregory Tucker driving within the city, observed that one of the taillights on Tucker’s vehicle was not working, and used the lights on his police vehicle to signal Tucker to pull over. Because he did not feel safe stopping immediately, Tucker drove calmly and slowly for a few minutes more to a safe, well-lit area in front of his cousin’s house where he parked his car. The police officer then ordered Tucker out of his vehicle, and after stepping out, immediately placed Tucker under arrest for “resisting” and searched his person and his vehicle. Tucker was then ordered to move to the front of the police vehicle and to place his hands on its hood. During this time, Tucker expressed his frustration to the officer over his treatment.
Upon arriving on the scene, two other police officers walked up behind Tucker, grabbed his arms to restrain him and began placing handcuffs on Tucker. A third police officer also arrived on the scene. According to police dash cam footage, Tucker was then thrown to the ground and punched numerous times in the head and body. The police also yelled repeatedly at Tucker to “quit resisting.” Tucker, bleeding with injuries to his face, head and arm, was then placed into the back of a police vehicle. EMTs were called to treat Tucker, and he was eventually taken to the hospital. In filing suit against the City of Shreveport and the arresting officers, Rutherford Institute attorneys are seeking damages for the “use of excessive force” and unreasonable seizures.