Parish: Jefferson Davis

Police Department: Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff’s Office

Court: United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana

The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana, alongside Peter Sullivan, Rumbidzai Maweni, Ethan Severance, and Rachel Davidson of Foley Hoag LLP, sued officers of the Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff’s Office for the unlawful use of a Taser on Chance Beroid, a Black man, last March. The officers entered Mr. Beroid’s parents’ home without permission, and, in a matter of mere seconds, proceeded to tase Mr. Beroid in front of his family members, despite the fact that he posed no threat to the officers and he was not attempting to flee.

On a Saturday in March of 2020, Mr. Beroid and his fiancé got into a disagreement in front of his parents’ house following a date night, and three officers of the Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff’s Office arrived at the scene. The situation was resolved; his fiancé left, and Mr. Beroid went inside his parents’ home.

The three officers did not leave. Instead, they huddled outside of the house for 30-45 minutes before knocking on the door and claiming that there were warrants out for Mr. Beroid’s arrest–although they refused to show Mr. Beroid the warrants and could not provide details on what crimes he had allegedly committed, despite his pleas for information. The officers proceeded to push into the house without permission, insisting that Mr. Beroid come with them to the station. One officer grabbed Mr. Beroid by his shirt, causing him to slip out of it. Then, within a matter of seconds, and without provocation or warning, one of the officers shot a now shirtless Mr. Beroid with a taser in his arm and back. With the barbs still in his flesh, the officers yelled at Mr. Beroid to fall to the floor, and he complied. He was subsequently handcuffed as he laid face down on the floor with the taser still attached to his skin.

Mr. Beroid’s parents witnessed the assault and were terrified for their son. The officers, however, did not care, and one officer threatened Mr. Beroid’s father, saying that if he got any closer, “he would be sorry.” The same officer later stated that Mr. Beroid’s father “was about to get f***** too.”

Mr. Beroid was charged with “resisting arrest” and, as a result of this incident, was subjected to criminal proceedings.

As part of the ACLU of Louisiana’s litigation campaign against racist policing, this lawsuit sought to hold law enforcement officers accountable for abusing their power in order to target Black Louisianans like Mr. Beroid. There is no justice when officers are permitted to brutalize and criminalize Black men with impunity.

The lawsuit alleged that the officers violated Mr. Beroid’s Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights by employing excessive force to effectuate Mr. Beroid’s arrest. It also alleged that the use of the Taser violated Mr. Beroid’s rights under the laws of Louisiana. The district court held that Mr. Beroid failed to establish a constitutional violation under the Fourth Amendment, and the officers were entitled to qualified immunity. On April 21, 2023, the Fifth Circuit issued a judgment affirming the district court’s decision.

Mr. Beroid is unfortunately one of many victims of police brutality that will not receive justice because of qualified immunity. Qualified immunity is a legal doctrine that shields government officials from liability, and it poses a significant barrier to holding officers accountable for misconduct. 

The defendants in the case were:

  • Christopher LaFleur, deputy in Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff’s Office
  • Ferrell LeBlanc, deputy in Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff’s Office
  • Naquan Senegal, deputy in Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff’s Office

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