In a land where a person can be thrown in jail for wanting to file a complaint against the cops, that is called a “police state.” Here in the United States, the Constitution protects those who want to file a complaint against the police. Except in Louisiana.
In Louisiana, a person can be thrown in jail, legally, for saying to the police, “I’m calling your supervisor. I’m gonna get you fired.” Louisiana calls this “intimidation of a public official,” which is a felony that carries up to five years in prison. And the intimidation does not even have to amount to a “threat.”
When William Aubin Jr. said those exact words to Deputy William Durkin, who used vulgar language and called Aubin obscene names, he was arrested and charged with intimidating a public official and taken to jail. The same thing happened to Travis Seals, who said he wanted to file a complaint after being pepper-sprayed while he was handcuffed. He ended up with the new felony charge.
Despite one federal judge saying the law is “patently and obviously unconstitutional,” and another saying it is egregiously unconstitutional, it still stands. See Aubin v. Columbia Cas. Company, 272 F.Supp. 3d 828 (M.D. La. 2017) (constitutional claim dismissed at 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70528 (2018)). And Louisiana’s district attorney sticks by the law, having personally shown up in court to defend it.
Law enforcement says the law is needed to prevent citizens from “influencing the behavior of police officers.” However, better training and oversight of officers might be more effective.
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Related legal case
Aubin v. Columbia Cas. Company
|272 F.Supp. 3d 828 (M.D. La. 2017)