September 15, 2009
Two Beaumont officers were indicted on August 13, 2009 on charges of official oppression for their conduct during a 2007 traffic stop and have been booked into Jefferson County Jail.
Officers David Todd Burke and James Cody Guedry were each escorted to jail by an attorney and they immediately posted the $2,500 bond, a Jefferson County jailer said.
The men are charged with misdemeanor official oppression charges in connection with an August 2007 arrest of Beaumont resident Derrick Newman, who filed a civil suit against all officers involved in the traffic stop. The officers are white and Newman along with two other occupants in the car are black.
The maximum penalty for the misdemeanor charge is up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
Newman said Burke beat him with an unauthorized club and Guedry Tasered him twice. He also stated that no other officers came to his aide when he was being beat. Sgt. Mike Mills of the Beaumont Police Officers Association released a statement in support of each officer.
The video released by the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office shows officer Burke hitting Newman 13 times with a wooden club. After an internal investigation, Police Chief Frank Coffin suspended Burke for two days for using excessive force. In April, Arbitrator Frederick P. Ahrens ruled that Burke did not use excessive force in the August 2007 arrest and overturned the suspension. Ahrens stated in his report that while being searched by Guedry, Newman began to "struggle" with the officer.
Do you think the indictment against the cops were justified?
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