State trooper accused of pulling weapon on vehicles during traffic jam on bridge
State police say they are investigating complaints received against a state trooper who allegedly pointed his weapon at innocent civilians during a traffic jam on the Calcasieu River Bridge Wednesday evening.
According to Troop D spokesperson James Anderson, traffic in both northbound lanes of the U.S. 171 bridge came to a standstill at approximately 6:28 p.m. after a three-car collision occurred when one vehicle stalled on the bridge at milepost 4.
By approximately 6:51 p.m., Anderson said, both northbound lanes were closed down and all traffic was held for vehicle recovery. Southbound lanes were also closed temporarily, he said.
Anderson said state police utilized seven troopers to divert traffic on the bridge during the incident, and a witness close to the initial crash site told the American Press one of those troopers arrived at the scene in an agitated state, and then showed what she believed was an excessive display of authority in his attempt to control drivers at the scene.
“Things were a little confusing when they first began shutting down the lanes because some drivers were being allowed to turn around and others were being told to stay where they were. There wasn’t any clear direction on what they wanted everyone to do,” the witness stated.
At one point, the witness said, the female driver of a vehicle directly behind her attempted to “cautiously” turn their vehicle around. That is when, the witness said, the trooper drew what appeared to be his gun and pointed it at the driver.
“I was too afraid to even move because I was close enough to touch him (the trooper) and I thought if he pulled his gun on her like that he might point it at me next. He seemed so stressed and angry at that moment, I was afraid he was going to shoot someone,” she stated.
The witness, who asked her name be withheld, said that she comes from a law enforcement family and understands tensions can run high with the demands of the job, but that she believes that night the trooper’s behavior crossed a line.
“He was leaning in drivers’ windows and yelling. He was shouting profanities at all of us,” she stated.
The witness said that the trooper became so biligerant that he began yelling out his own name, badge number and the name of his supervisor as if challenging the drivers to report him. She said she used that information to make an informal complaint over the phone Wednesday night.
As of Thursday, Anderson said that state police had not received any formal complaints against the trooper, but that all accusations were being taken seriously.
“We have already begun looking into this matter,” Anderson stated.
A video of the alleged incident has surfaced on social media, however the video does not show clearly what the trooper is holding in his hand as he shouts at drivers.
‘He seemed so stressed and angry at that moment, I was afraid he was going to shoot someone.’
‘He was leaning in drivers’ windows and yelling. He was shouting profanities at all of us.’
Witness during traffic jam on U.S. 171 bridge