Justice for Phil Anthony

Parish: Caddo

Law Enforcement Agencies: Shreveport Police Department and Louisiana State Police

My name is Phil Anthony – I’m 52 years old and have lived in Louisiana for the last fifteen years. I grew up in Columbus, Ohio, where I attended school through college and studied business administration. From there, I moved to Middletown, Connecticut where I was studying for my master’s degree. Around 2007-2008 I relocated to Shreveport, Louisiana to take care of my mother after her home was damaged in a hurricane. I have three children in their late twenties and early thirties. I used to enjoy fishing, walking, biking, working, and riding my motorcycle, but I haven’t been able to do any of those things since city and state police officers verbally and physically assaulted and attacked me, resulting in life-long physical and mental injuries, in 2017.

On September 4, 2017, I went to a local bar with my son and parked my motorcycle outside on the sidewalk, which is fairly common for folks to do with their motorcycles in the area. A short time later, after I emerged from the bathroom, someone told me that officers from the Shreveport City Police Department were messing with my motorcycle. When I approached, a Shreveport Police lieutenant was near my motorcycle, telling me that I couldn’t park on the sidewalk and threatening to tow it. I offered to wheel my motorcycle to a parking lot around the corner or pay the ticket for parking on the sidewalk, but the officer refused, and the situation quickly escalated. First two more officers arrived, and then at least two more. My son pulled out his phone to let my girlfriend know what was happening but the police yelled at him to not record (which he wasn’t doing) and threatened to arrest him for interfering with police business. The officer told me to get away or he would have me arrested. When I tried to walk away, an officer grabbed me from behind around the neck, quickly put me in a chokehold, and slammed me on the ground. The officers hit me. The officer commanded me to put my hands behind my back, but I put them straight out to the side because if I had followed his command, my hands would have been near his gun and I would have been shot. I was knocked unconscious, arrested and forced into the back of a police car and my motorcycle was towed. I was badly beaten up and bleeding. Officers are required to take pictures of physical injuries incurred during an arrest, but one of the officers tried to clean me up quickly to make it seem like nothing had happened. I told the officers that something was wrong with my throat (from the chokehold) and asked them to get me medical attention, but they repeatedly ignored my pleas for medical help as they drove me to the jail. At the jail the police asked if I were going to cooperate, and I told them “I need to see a doctor. I am not uncooperative.” But they surrounded me and held me in a segregation cell, where they pushed me down onto a concrete bed with no mattress and stripped me naked. One officer told me that if I moved “he was going to come in there and fuck me up.” Another officer placed himself at the entrance to the cell, with the door open, and stood crouched down in a three-point stance (like a football line-up) just waiting for me to move. During this whole time, I wasn’t breathing right and I passed out a few times. I continued to tell the officers at the jail that I needed medical attention for the injuries to my neck but they refused and said it would have to wait until the next shift. It wasn’t until 18 hours after I was beaten and arrested that the officers finally called EMS. When EMS arrived, they only checked to make sure that I was breathing but told me they couldn’t provide any medical help for my neck injuries because the police wouldn’t let them. After 24 hours of being detained, I was finally allowed to make a phone call, given bail paperwork, and released. My vocal cords were permanently paralyzed from the incident, and to this day my speaking and breathing functions haven’t returned to normal.

Just a few weeks later, on October 7, 2017, I was again targeted and attacked by the police. That evening, I was test driving a motorcycle that I had been repairing when I passed by some Louisiana State troopers stopped alongside the highway. Soon after, a car without headlights on pulled up behind me so closely that it was only about a foot behind my rear tire, and then the driver suddenly turned on their high beams. I thought it was most likely a drunk driver, so I pulled forward to distance myself from the vehicle. Only then could I see that the car was a Louisiana State trooper bearing cone lights instead of a standard light bar. When the trooper turned on his lights, I was very worried that something was going to wrong.  I remembered seeing an announcement earlier that day that if citizens felt unsafe stopping for police, they should proceed to a well-lit public place, so I wanted to get to the nearest exit and stop at a gas station. As I headed to the next exit, the trooper pulled up behind me and struck my back tire with his vehicle several times, but I was able to recover and stay on my bike. I was very frightened and I remember thinking “I am not going to die tonight on the side of this highway.” I made it to the gas station and waited until I could see that it was open to pull into it. I pulled into the turn lane and stopped, waiting for an opening in traffic so I could turn. My turn signal was on and I waved to the trooper to show that I was pulling in. The trooper (later identified as Trooper Cobb of the Louisiana State Patrol) did not slow down. He struck me from behind at a high rate of speed—I believe he was travelling over 60 miles per hour. I fell onto the hood of his patrol car and he ran over my motorcycle. I woke up the hospital ER, heavily sedated, and two troopers were in my hospital room questioning me and asking me to confess to a crime. I was severely injured: every bone in my leg was broken, my arm and all of my left ribs were broken, and I suffered brain trauma.

After these incidents, various police officers drove by my home in Shreveport on a weekly basis. On one occasion, an officer threatened me, saying “next time, you’re not going to see me coming.” The officers would bang on the walls of my house, shine flashlights into my windows, and they even shut off the power to my house. The officers were trying to intimidate me to prevent me from pursuing any remedies for the earlier incidents, and there was no one I could call for help since the police were the very ones threatening me.

Every facet of my life was impacted by these events. I suffered temporal lobe damage which impacted my writing, reading, speaking, and motor skills. I’m not able to walk, and I have severe depression. I had 30 years of experience working as a skilled small motor mechanic, but now I am unable to work and on permanent disability which is not enough money to support myself. I am no longer able to do the things I enjoyed, and may not be able to live independently. It is very difficult to leave the house because I know now that police can get away with hurting me any time they want to.

When I tried to get the police dashcam from the second incident, I was told that they would not release it because there were pending charges, but I have never been charged for incident. I tried contacting lawyers but was told that due to qualified immunity there was nothing they could do. I also tried reaching out to local government officials through social media channels but received no response. I have no  recourse – legal or otherwise – and there is no accountability for the police who injured me. I feel hopeless and have no trust in the police – if someone shot me or broke into my home, I wouldn’t call them. Police officers should receive proper training, treat people as human beings, and not act as if all of the citizens they encounter are bad guys out to kill. I need the officers who injured me to be held accountable for their actions so that I can begin to heal.

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