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La. sheriff: ‘Not happy’ about deputy’s filmed altercation during parade

A deputy made an obscene gesture at a man who was trying to film the police activity, and apparently knocked his phone out of his hand

The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto said Wednesday that he expects to take disciplinary action against at least one deputy involved in an altercation after the Centurions parade Friday night that was captured on video and widely shared on social media.

“Look, I’ve seen the video. … I’m not happy about it,” Lopinto said. “I believe our officers should perform in a better manner.

“Obviously in this case, he let his emotions get in the way of him just doing his job. When the investigation is complete and I get all the statements in front of me, I fully intend to take some disciplinary action on it.”

The incident in question occurred at a parking garage where deputies had responded to a report of a large fight involving as many as 20 men. A 24-year-old Kenner man was booked with fighting in public in connection with the melee.

Meantime, a deputy made an obscene gesture at another man who was trying to film the police activity, and apparently knocked his phone out of his hand. That man, identified by the Sheriff’s Office as Jacobi Cage, 20, of LaPlace, responded with a similar gesture, after which, the video shows, several deputies tackled him and arrested him.

The video was widely shared on Twitter Friday night and Saturday, and the Sheriff’s Office said Saturday that an investigation into the incident was underway.

Cage was booked with disturbing the peace, resisting an officer and battery of a police officer. He was released from the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center Friday night.

Lopinto said Wednesday that he’d welcome statements from anyone who witnessed the incident, including Cage. He expressed sympathy for what deputies must deal with at Mardi Gras but said they have to keep their cool.

“There’s .. no excuse from it. We shouldn’t act that way, no matter what the circumstances are,” he said. “But you’ve got to keep your emotions in check and make sure you act professional. There’s no way to justify that. It was unprofessional and I’ll deal with it accordingly when the investigation is complete.”


©2019 The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.

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