Last Modified: Wednesday, February 12, 2014 11:08 AM
LEESVILLE — Leesville police said they did not use an unnecessary amount of force when using a Taser multiple times while arresting a man over the weekend for trying to leave a restaurant without paying.
Jeffrey Brown, 27, was arrested in the early-morning hours of Saturday after he and his friends tried to leave a local diner.
He said he and his friends had waited nearly an hour for their meals to arrive and decided to find another place to eat when an officer stopped them and said they would be jailed for theft if they left without paying for their order.
Brown, a staff sergeant at Fort Polk, said that after he put his hands behind his back to be arrested officers began shocking him with a Taser, knocking him to the ground.
According to a Leesville police news release, Brown was using profane language during the arrest and was told he was being arrested for disturbing the peace.
Leesville police said Brown continued to use profane language but appeared compliant until an officer tried to handcuff him. Police said Brown turned and pushed an officer and began to resist and fight the officer. Officials said it took three officers and the use of a Taser to subdue him.
Brown said it was not possible for him to push an officer because he was standing against a car with his hands behind his back. “I never touched an officer,” Brown said. “And they never even told me what I was being arrested for. I was under the impression I was being arrested for theft.”
Dontel Hackett, a friend of Brown’s and a witness to the arrest, took a video on his cellphone during the incident. The video shows a man, who Brown identified as himself, lying face down being hit with a Taser with two officers on top of him. The video, which had been posted on YouTube, had nearly 800 hits but has since been removed.
Hackett said the Police Department, which initially refused the American Press’ request for comment, is now trying to cover it up.
“When they had him in the arrest position, he was facing the car,” Hackett said. “He wouldn’t be able to push someone. To be honest, if that had been the case, we wouldn’t be pushing so hard if he had done something wrong.”
Brown was booked into the Leesville jail on charges of disturbing the peace for loud and profane language and for resisting an officer. His bond was set at $1,500. Ervin Wilson Jr. of New Llano was also charged with disturbing the peace; his bond was set at $500.