Parish: Rapides

Police Department: Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office

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

The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana, alongside the Southern Poverty Law Center and R.F.K. Human Rights, is currently representing Mr. Wesley Pigott—a white man—and his two Black children, K.P. and Mya. The Pigott’s are victims of a Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Deputy’s racially motivated use of excessive force.

On April 17, 2020, after being followed for several miles by an unmarked truck, Mr. Pigott pulled into an empty parking lot with his children and their two friends. K.P., a Black teenager, and his two Hispanic friends were sitting in the bed of the truck. They were the only people visible in the truck due to Mr. Pigott’s tinted windows. Upon stopping his truck and opening his door, Mr. Pigott was immediately faced with a gun pointed at him without any warning or explanation.

After 15-year-old K.P. begged the officer through tears, “please don’t shoot my daddy,” the officer, who was holding a gun to the child’s father’s head, turned the gun on K.P. and his two friends. That was an evening of terror for Wesley Pigott and his two children, K.P. and Mya, and has caused them severe mental and emotional harm.    

A few minutes later, another law enforcement officer arrived at the scene and immediately tried to deescalate the situation. The officer conducted a pat down of Mr. Pigott and only then did Gintz finally lower the gun he was aiming at Mr. Pigott, and the children were able to put their hands down.

Mr. Pigott was never accused of nor charged with any crime. The Pigott’s suffered and continue to suffer from serious mental and emotional harms due to the actions of Mr. Gintz. Because of the wrongful conduct by Officer Gintz, the complaint alleges that the officer should be held liable for the harm that the Pigott’s endured that night.

On  April 16, 2021, counsel for Mr. Pigott brought a lawsuit on behalf of him and his two children, alleging a Rapides Parish law enforcement officer, Paul Gintz, violated the Pigotts’ Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights by employing excessive force to unlawfully seize the family. It also alleges that the law enforcement officer’s actions violated the Pigotts’ rights under the laws of Louisiana.

Defendant, Paul Gintz, filed a motion for summary judgment in the case on April 19, 2023. On November 11, 2023 the United States Court for the Western District Court of Louisiana held that Officer Gintz was entitled to qualified immunity, and dismissed the case. The Pigotts have appealed the case to the Fifth Circuit Court of appeals. The appeal is still pending.

The sole defendant in the case is Officer Paul Gintz.

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