A former Louisiana police officer will spend over six years in prison after he kicked a Black man whose hands were behind his back in the face while he thought a fellow officer’s body camera was turned off.
The Department of Justice announced a plea agreement between Jared Preston Desadier, a former Monroe Police Department officer, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Louisiana for one count of deprivation of rights of a civilian under color of law on Dec. 7.
Under the deal, Desadier will serve six years and five months in prison and two years of supervised release for the assault of Timothy Williams in Ouachita Parish and trying to cover up that abuse.
“The defendant’s decision to callously abuse an arrestee when he thought he wasn’t being watched is an affront to the principles of honesty and integrity that our society expects from law enforcement,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in a statement.
The 44-year-old officer and other MPD officers overheard an alarm go off while on duty a little after midnight on Apr. 21, 2020. They identified Williams as the suspect and conducted a field interview with him.
While he was being detained, the officers discovered Williams had drug paraphernalia and a fake plastic gun on his person, prompting him to take off running. The officers gave chase and about a block away, another MPD officer detained Williams, ordered him to lie on his stomach and surrender, and place his hands behind his back to be handcuffed.
Desadier ran up to the scene and asked the officer who was about to handcuff Williams if that officer’s bodycam was recording before he kicked him in the face, according to reports.
The footage shows Williams was wailing as the officer struck him with his foot. Police reports show Desadier asked the other officer “you hot” to which his colleague replied “no” before Desadier started brutalizing Williams.
Internal review documents obtained by News Star also report Desadier kicked the man in the head. Williams told police at the scene that Desadier knocked his teeth out, and he had to be treated at a nearby hospital “for lacerations.”
“Desadier responded by saying, ‘You fell and knocked your teeth out. You ran out of your shoes and fell on your face,'” the report reads.
During the trial, the officer admitted in court there was no justification for his assault on Williams, KSLA reports. Desadier said despite running, he never posted a threat to him, the other officer, or any other person on the scene at the time. He also admitted that he knew his actions were wrong.
“This sentence makes clear that the Department of Justice will aggressively investigate and prosecute any officer who believes that the Constitution only applies when the cameras are on,” DOJ’s Clarke said.
Monroe Police Department Chief of Police Victor Zordan, who wasn’t the top cop in Monroe when Desadier was fired over the incident, said he respects the decision of the courts.
“Misuse and abuse of power will not be tolerated at the Monroe Police Department,” the chief said. “We are striving to rebuild trust in the community with our officers and egregious actions like Desadier exhibited make that more difficult not only in Monroe but across the country.”
Williams sued the city of Monroe, the police department, and two officers involved in the incident in April 2021, court records show. This federal civil lawsuit is yet to be settled.
Donecia Banks-Miley, Williams’ attorney, representing him in the civil case, applauded the Justice Department’s decision, saying it was “another step in the right direction.”
“We have a long road ahead of us as we continue to fight in civil court, but we will not give up and will remain hopeful for justice for Timothy Williams and other police brutality victims,” she said.
The Justice Department believes this case is just another example of their commitment to protecting citizens from cops who misuse their power and hoping that prosecuting these types of crimes will increase “the public’s trust in law enforcement.
All Americans expect law enforcement officers to continuously abide by the law,” said U.S. Attorney Brandon B. Brown.
“The bedrock of officer and citizen engagement is for the officer to, without exception, act professionally with a goal of deescalating tense situations,” Brown continued. “Here, this defendant instead decided to criminally escalate the situation by unnecessarily battering the victim. Prosecuting offenses such as these not only benefit society but also law enforcement because bad police officers who cast a black eye on the profession are eradicated from the law enforcement community.”