CASE #11 – Perkins v. Hart et al. (EDLA)

Parish: St. Tammany

Police Department: St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office

The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana and Reid Collins & Tsai LLP are representing Teliah C. Perkins in a civil rights action against two deputies from the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Ms. Perkins’ complaint describes how, on May 5, 2020, she was violently tackled, pinned, and arrested on the driveway of her own home for a minor traffic violation that she did not commit.

Deputies Kyle Hart and Ryan Moring first drove to Ms. Perkins’ residential street in response to an anonymous complaint of someone operating a motorcycle in a dangerous manner. After extended questioning, during which Ms. Perkins assured the deputies that she had not committed any traffic violations, the deputies stormed onto Ms. Perkins’ property and arrested her. The deputies violently seized Ms. Perkins by the arms and forced her to the ground, pressing her face into the pavement and digging their knees and elbows into her back and legs. Deputy Hart in particular kept Ms. Perkins pinned to the ground and pressed his forearm into her windpipe with his entire body weight as she gasped “you’re choking me!”

Ms. Perkins’ minor son recorded the incident on his phone. In an unconstitutional attempt to stop the recording, Deputy Moring blocked the camera’s view of Ms. Perkins and drew his Taser, pointing it directly at the 14-year-old, who objected: “you can’t tase a child.” Deputy Moring responded: “watch me.” 

Following the arrest, Ms. Perkins required emergency room treatment for her injuries and continues to receive physical and occupational therapy. She has had to give up her job as a home care provider because she is in too much pain to perform her duties. And although the traffic citations have been dismissed, she is now being prosecuted for resisting arrest, a baseless, felony charge that arises out of her unlawful arrest and is being used to justify the deputies’ use of excessive force.

The defendants in the case are:

  • Kyle Hart, deputy with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office.
  • Ryan Moring, deputy with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office.

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