A group of several police officers and lawyers are in a world of trouble after cell phone video proved that the group of law enforcement personnel was lying and prepared to send a man to prison for a crime he did not commit.
In August of 2012 Washington Parish, Louisiana resident Douglas Dendinger acted as a process server for his nephew and served papers on police officer Chad Cassard in Bogalusa, Louisiana. Dendinger’s nephew was suing Cassard for police brutality, and asked his uncle to serve the officer. In return, Dendinger was paid $50. Dendinger served the summons by handing Officer Cassard a white envelope on the steps of the police station and then walked away. Twenty minutes later, Dendinger would begin living his worst nightmare.
“It was like sticking a stick in a bee’s nest. They started cursing me. They threw the summons at me. Right at my face, but it fell short. Vulgarities. I just didn’t know what to think. I was a little shocked,” recounted the 47-year old Dendinger.
Police showed up to his home and arrested him, he was charged with simple battery, obstruction of justice and intimidating a witness. Two of the charges were felonies, and Dendinger already had a felony conviction to his account (for cocaine possession), which meant that a conviction on these charges could put him in prison for a VERY long time.
Dendinger spent the night in jail but was sure that this was all a simple misunderstanding that would son be cleared up. Sadly, the next day things only got worse. Soon the District Attorney would formally charge Dendinger — and the charges were supported by a group of 7 eyewitnesses including two prosecutors and several police officers!
The case file that was handed to Reed and his office was bolstered by seven witness statements given to Washington Parish deputies, including the two from Reed’s prosecutors.
In her statement to deputies, contained in a police report, Knight stated, “We could hear the slap as he hit Cassard’s chest with an envelope of papers…This was done in a manner to threaten and intimidate everyone involved.”
Casssard, in his statement, told deputies, Dendinger “slapped me in the chest.”
Washington Parish court attorney Pamela Legendre said “it made such a noise,” she thought the officer “had been punched.”
Police Chief Culpepper gave a police statement that he witnessed the battery, but in a deposition he said, “I wasn’t out there.” But that didn’t stop Culpepper from characterizing Dendinger’s actions as “violence, force.”
It was beginning to look like Dendinger would be going to prison for the ret of his years, except the authorities did not realize that they were missing one crucial piece of evidence… Dendinger’s wife and nephew had been there to record him serving the papers. Two cellphone videos capturing the meeting from different angels showed conclusively that the police and prosecutors’ accounts of what happened were completely fabricated. They were lying, a lot.
In a deposition taken by Kaplan, one Bogalusa police officer, Lt. Patrick Lyons, said he witnessed a battery that knocked Cassard back several feet. But the video shows him far in the distance with his back turned.
Two of the officers stated that Dendinger ran from the scene, although he said his disability makes running impossible.
Kaplan also points out what he thinks should be obvious: “If this was truly a battery on a police officer with police officers all around him, why isn’t something happening right there? Why aren’t they arresting him on the spot? This case is an abuse of power.”
The crude videos show Dendinger walking up to Officer Cassard as he moves to enter the building. At this point, Dendinger hands him the envelope and turns to walk (not run) away. The video also shows Cassard barely slowing as he enters the precinct with the envelope. On top of that, the two videos prove that several of the “witnesses” could not have seen what they claimed to have seen because their backs were turned, or the events they described simply did not take place.
As soon as the videos came to light, the District Attorney’s office was forced to recuse itself from the case and the state’s Attorney General immediately dropped all charges against Dendinger, and now they face a federal civil rights lawsuit for the persecution of Mr. Dendinger.
It’s a stunning reminder of the kind of power in the hands of those in our law enforcement agencies. It should also serve to remind us of why the Bill of Rights are so important and must always be protected above all else… even in the face of the war on terror. The threat we face from government corruption and overreach is very real and far more likely to affect us “average Americans” than even the terrifying radical Islamists our media breathlessly reports about each day.
Don’t get lazy, folks – our rights are worth the effort it takes to protect them.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com