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Former officer found not guilty of simple battery

Last Modified: Friday, January 31, 2014 4:01 PM

By Johnathan Manning / American Press

A judge in state district court found a former Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s officer not guilty of simple battery, but did not absolve him of wrongdoing.

Michael Dewayne Williams, 25, went to trial Friday on the misdemeanor charge. He was accused of kissing and grabbing a woman he pulled over for a traffic stop in September 2012.

Judge Kent Savoie said he was acquitting him of the charges “because I have a little problem with the credibility of the witness.”

“I’m going to find you not guilty, but I don’t think you did nothing wrong,” Savoie told Williams.

Prosecutor James Sudduth called the woman and a detective to the stand. Defense attorney Shane Hinch said at the beginning of the short trial that he planned to call Williams as his only witness, but when the prosecution rested he asked Savoie for an acquittal.

Savoie admonished Williams for the position he put himself, the Sheriff’s Office and his family in and told him he should not have turned off his dash camera because it was there to protect himself and the woman.

“This was simply a credibility issue,” Hinch said. “There was no physical evidence, no circumstantial evidence. It was just the word of one party against the other and frankly with the burden being proof beyond a reasonable doubt, after the alleged victim testified, I just think the judge determined that her credibility was not sufficient past the burden of proof.”

The woman testified she had three mixed drinks of red bull and vodka that night, before the traffic stop happened in the early hours of Sept. 15, although she said she had them over a long period of time and was not intoxicated.

Lake Charles Police detective Jeffrey Atkinson said that Williams turned the video off during the stop. He also said Williams made several questionable stops that night and had been called in the week before to discuss traffic stops.

Williams told her he pulled her over because of a rolling stop and told her that he was going to follow her home, then, upon arrival, told her he was going inside to check the residence, she said. “I wasn’t aware of my rights at the time and he’s a police officer,” she said.

Inside, he began kissing her and pulling up her skirt, she said. Williams stopped when she told him her friends were about to arrive, she said.

She claimed she had not flirted with him, nor invited the kiss.

Atkinson said that in his first interview with Williams, the former deputy said he entered the woman’s home because she said she was having problems with roommates, but in a second interview said he entered the home because the woman was being flirtatious. In both interviews, Williams claimed the kiss was consensual, Atkinson said.

Williams jokingly asked if he could get a kiss and when she put her arms around his neck, they begin kissing, Atkinson said.

Williams said he had messed up because he was married with kids, Atkinson said.

Hinch asked the woman about several of her posts on social websites, including one which read that she did not want to face Williams, but the only good part was that she was going to get at least $100,000. The woman has filed a civil lawsuit against Williams. She admitted she had written it, and said as a single mother, the money would help.

Hinch also asked her about a post on her Twitter account about beating up another woman, but getting away with it because she had friends in law enforcement. She claimed it was written by a friend who shared her Twitter account.

Sheriff Tony Mancuso previously said that Williams was fired for “policy infractions.”

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