Police Department: Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office
The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana and Cooley LLP are representing Nathasia Paul in a civil rights lawsuit against Sheriff Joseph P. Lopinto, III, Deputy Chief of Special Investigations, Curtis P. Matthews, and several law enforcement officers from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office (“JPSO”).
On November 20, 2020, five officers went to Ms. Paul’s home to investigate a purported anonymous complaint about her personal use of marijuana. Over the course of an hour, the officers interrogated Ms. Paul, intimidated her, confiscated her cell phone, handcuffed her, and searched her apartment—all without a warrant, without her consent, and without any valid basis.
After the search, the officers demanded that Ms. Paul sign a consent form. In handcuffs, surrounded by armed officers who repeatedly demanded that she sign the consent, and fearing for her life, she relented and signed the form. The encounter left Ms. Paul traumatized, afraid to sleep in her own home, and fearful of the officers’ return. By searching Ms. Paul’s home and arresting her without a warrant, the five officers violated her right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. And by failing to properly train and supervise the officers, the Sheriff of Jefferson Parish, Joseph P. Lopinto, III, and the head of the Special Investigations Bureau and Narcotics Division, Curtis P. Matthews also violated Ms. Paul’s rights.
By bringing this case, Ms. Paul seeks to hold Sheriff Lopinto, Jefferson Parish, and its officers accountable for their several violations of the United States Constitution and Louisiana state law.
The defendants named in this complaint are:
- JPSO Sheriff: Joseph P. Lopinto, III
- JPSO Deputy Chief, Special Investigations: Curtis P. Matthews
- JPSO Officers: John S. Walsdorf, Michael C. Wible, Gary L. Bordelon, Jr., Jason E. Spadoni, and Joseph P. Hebert, among others