December 6th, 2013

Louisiana Cops Arrest Woman for Recording Inside Police Station, Seize Camera as “Evidence” 72

By Carlos Miller
KP Gibson

Crowley Police Chief K.P. Gibson

A Louisiana woman was arrested for video recording inside a police station Sunday, her camera seized as “evidence,” a small-town police department operating without oversight or accountability.

It was the latest act of abuse by the Crowley Police Department against Theresa Richard, a 44-year-old woman who has been having issues with them since her daughter and granddaughter were killed in a house fire last year.

Richard sent me an email last night, which I am reposting below in its entirety.

To sum it up, Richard’s husband and brother were confronted by cops for removing a safe from the burned house after the fire inspector had deemed the investigation over.

The two men had wheeled the safe over on a dolly because the house was only down the street from where Richard lived.

But police arrived and accused them of stealing the safe. Richard said they also assaulted her and ordered her back inside her home. However, they ended up leaving without arresting anybody.

We can pretty much assume that police had intended to steal the safe, which is why they were angry that the two men were removing it from the burnt house.

Richard responded by suing them, but was unable to get the local newspaper, the Crowley Post-Signal, to report on the lawsuit because they’re too busy writing puff pieces on the cops.

However, she did manage to get the newspaper from the neighboring town to report on the suit, which unfortunately, is not sold in Crowley, a town of less than 15,000 residents.

So she grabbed about 75 copies of the Eunice Today newspaper to distribute them to residents of Crowley, including the department’s police chief, K.P. Gibson.

But when she entered the department to drop the newspaper off while carrying her camera as it was recording, she ended up getting arrested for “remaining after being forbidden,” which appears to be Louisiana’s version of trespassing, and applied unconstitutionally in Richard’s case if she is being truthful in her email, which I have no reason to doubt.

A.  No person shall without authority go into or upon or remain in or upon or attempt to go into or upon or remain in or upon any structure, watercraft, or any other movable, or immovable property, which belongs to another, including public buildings and structures, ferries, and bridges, or any part, portion, or area thereof, after having been forbidden to do so, either orally or in writing, including by means of any sign hereinafter described, by any owner, lessee, or custodian of the property or by any other authorized person.  For the purposes of this Section, the above mentioned sign means a sign or signs posted on or in the structure, watercraft, or any other movable, or immovable property, including public buildings and structures, ferries and bridges, or part, portion or area thereof, at a place or places where such sign or signs may be reasonably expected to be seen.

Now police are refusing to return her camera in complete violation of the law as the United States Department of Justice specified in its guidelines from last year.

Warrantless seizures are only permitted if an officer has probable cause to believe that the property “holds contraband or evidence of a crime” and “the exigencies of the circumstances demand it or some other recognized exception to the warrant requirement is present.” United States v. Place, 462 U.S. 696, 701 (1983). Any such seizure must be a “temporary restraint[] where needed to preserve evidence until police c[an] obtain a warrant.” Illinois v. McArthur, 531 U.S. 326, 334 (2001). Seizures must be limited to a reasonable period of time. For example, in Illinois v. McArthur, the Supreme court upheld a police officer’s warrantless seizure of a premises, in part, because police had good reason to fear that evidence would be destroyed and the restraint only lasted for two hours – “no longer than reasonably necessary for the police, acting with diligence, to obtain the warrant.” Id. at 332. Once seized, officers may not search the contents of the property without first obtaining the warrant. Place, 462 U.S. at 701 & n.3. In the context of the seizure of recording devices, this means that officers may not search for or review an individual’s recordings absent a warrant.

Hopefully, they’re not stupid enough to delete her footage because we will do all we can to help her recover it. And we’ll turn it into a national story.

This is a department that is crying out to be investigated by the feds or at least by the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement, not that we would expect anything from local cops investigating local cops.

Richard’s lawyer has been unable to get them to return her camera, so maybe the ACLU of Louisiana can do something.

Or maybe we can just call flood the hell out of them until they return her camera: (337) 788-4114.

Or at least tell them to do so on their Facebook page.

Crowley Mayor Greg Jones can be reached at (337) 788-4100.

It’s an infuriating story, to say the least.

Here is her email:

I wanted to contact you because I have been going through what has turned into a battle between my family and the Crowley, Louisiana Police Department.  This past Sunday I was arrested at the police station for video recording…they said I was causing a disturbance and charged me with remaining after being banned.

Just to give a little background, our battle with CPD started June 7, 2012.  My daughter and granddaughter died in a house fire.  She lived only a few houses down from ours and after the investigation was completed the house was released to my husband and I and we were advised to remove a safe that had survived the fire asap.  Later that afternoon my husband went to get the safe with my brother and rolled it on a dolly from the burnt house to ours.  The police showed up and caused a big ruckus and accused us of stealing and disturbing a crime scene.  My daughter and I were both assaulted in the melee but eventually the cops got a radio call and without saying a word, they just got in their cars and left.  Understand that I am probably leaving out many more details in the interest of keeping this as short as possible.

We tried to go through the I.A process but after the officer was notified in writing about the investigation we began to be harassed by all the CPD cops.  Soon after I hired a lawyer and began requesting documents regarding the IA file and the records and radio calls and dash cam from the night of the fire.  My attorney eventually filed a Writ of Mandamus and we got a judgement but still do not have the files from the fire or recordings etc.  We also filed a civil suit for the civil rights violations from the night of the fire.

So the local paper wouldn’t cover the story about the lawsuit and I eventually met a reporter in the next town over who was interested in covering it.  His article ran in the Eunice Today last Sunday.  They don’t sell the Eunice paper here in Crowley so my husband and I drove to Eunice and bought 45 copies to give out at our place of business.  I also had the bright idea to drop off a copy at the police station.  It was Sunday, so I knew the chief wouldn’t be there.  I had every intention of bringing the paper in and leaving.  I was caring my video camera as I have done for the last year and a half every time I have any encounters with CPD as I was advised to do by my attorney.  It had never been an issue before.  So I walked in and asked the girl at the window if I could drop this off for the chief.

She was nice and told me she would and so I tried to slide it into the little tray but it didn’t fit and as I was fumbling with it a police officer, Scott Foggleman, walked inside and told me to shut off my camera.  I explained I had a right to film police officers in the course of their duties etc.  He told me to get out of the police station because I was causing a disturbance.  We went back and forth about how he could throw me out of a public building when I wasn’t causing a disturbance etc. and before I knew it I was surrounded by cops and Foggleman ordered them to arrest me.  They took my camera as evidence and booked me into the parish jail on remaining after being banned.

I do have an attorney working on the case who I have the utmost confidence in,  but I am wondering if you are aware of any laws or case law that would help me get my camera back?  Any suggestions?  My lawyer has taken every step he can at the moment to demand the return of the camera but you know how they are…it’s just a waiting game.  The police department say they are reviewing the video and the ADA is handling the case.  They won’t back down, they are going to make us jump through every hoop to get it back.  They dont want me to upload the video on the camera because it will prove I wasn’t causing a disturbance.

And like I said before, the local news paper, Crowley Post Signal, wouldn’t cover the lawsuit but they sure had my name in the paper for the arrest this Tuesday.

Also, after my arrest this Sunday the Police Department put signs outside of their public waiting area that says no video cameras allowed.  My next question to you is, if I think this is a violation of the constitutional rights of everyone, what kind of strategy can I use to hold them accountable and force them to take the signs down?  Do you have any insight to offer on that?

I know you guys do not claim to be lawyers but I am hopeful you can offer some advise from your own personal experience.  Any help would be appreciated.  I am a huge fan of your website and am one reader who is grateful for the work you do.

Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help your organization.  Thank you so much for reading,


Send stories, tips and videos to Carlos Miller.
  • OhSnapDJB

    I’ll be calling first thing in the morning.

  • Film The Police Always

    Sounds like these local hillbilly’s think they own the people. Time to start calling that department demanding that they return the camera. Time to start a http://WWW.COPBLOCK.ORG

    File a Lawsuit for the illegal arrest. Also, notify the FBI under the COLOR OF LAW. Check it out: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/civilrights/color_of_law

  • paschn

    “….investigated by he feds”? Hell, the FED is directing it. Don’t forget, the treasonous filth are trained by the terrorist state of Israel. Contracts which were “awarded” by the D.C. blow flies that (apparently), will commit any act of treason to curry favor/money from AIPAC.

  • Kenneth Bankers

    Just called, Was hung up on after i mentioned i saw this story. They already know its here. No comments just “CLICK”.

    • OhSnapDJB

      I just called. Was put into “KP’s” voicemail. I’d be surprised if I got a call back.

  • Devin Ford

    has anyone put this up on their facebook page?

  • Tom Wharton

    As a former resident of Crowley, LA I can attest to the “Barney Fife” mentality of their “law enforcement officers”. Give them a badge and a gun and they think they ARE THE LAW. That’s why I don’t shed a tear when one of these no good b@stards are shot. I hope the Dept. of Justice opens a full fledged investigation (though I doubt it) of these scum bags in Crowley from the top down.

  • CrowleyLouisianaResident

    Crowley PD has the worst policeman ever! Foggleman shouldn’t be an officer because he is very much racist and has a bad attitude. You can be the victim of a crime and Foggleman will treat you with the most disrespect that anyone can be treated with! All the citizens of Crowley need to come together as one and get change in our town! They are all scum bags! And as for K.P., he need to get his ass off the high horse and proprotect the citizens of Crowley, Louisiana and stop being unavailable every time he is needed. Better yet we need to get him out that office since he can’t provide protection and service to our town’s citizens!

    • Dave

      Ever visit Perugia, Italy? There are (or were) some pretty bad cops there, too.

  • pcman312

    But wait, the camera probably DOES have evidence of a crime. Just not a crime committed by her…

    • Dave

      Probably WHY the cops seized it. They don’t want anyone to see the evidence.

  • Trevor S.

    I have my own stories about the Crowley Police from years ago when I was a teenager. For some reason, that I never could figure out, they were spreading rumors about me doing drugs and dealing crystal meth. I have never even smoked a cigarette in my life! I know it was them because they even told my girlfriends mom! The rumor got as far as my grandmother who pulled me aside and asked me if I was doing drugs. I said, “Of course not” Around the same time that is when the harassment started. One time when I was stopped for speeding through a school zone the officer told me “He had to check my book bag as a precaution.” Another time three cop cars sped after me to tell me I had a tail light out. The third and last time I was stopped on a back road by someone NOT in a marked vehicle. I wasn’t going to stop until I got to the lit area. He was driving like a maniac behind me. Before I could get to the police station 6 cop cars surrounded my car. The two undercover cops ran up to my truck and grabbed us, throwing us out, throwing my cell phone out of my hand, and this was before they even flashed a badge. One of the cops that did this was busted for drugs himself 2 weeks later. My family got an apology from K.P Gibson. I have never came out with my story until now. The police have been playing these games for awhile now. Maybe it will come to light

    • ProudGrandPa

      Does Crowley have a citizen review board and/or an IA?

  • Carlos_Miller

    Theresa has a FB page where she is documenting her legal battle.

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Richard-vs-CPD/258138851007029

  • Turnkeys

    Carlos is my hero. ;)

    As I came to the FB link, I stopped reading to go add my comments. Moments after I see his post; which says many of the same things. However his post is fully cited with relevant case law and DOJ guidelines. “Yeah I could’ve done that.” I think to myself, laughing. However one has to have the knowledge base to know what sources to look for.

    I’m a bit aghast at how far outside the law this department and prosecutor are operating. Not only by what they’ve already done, but blatantly posting signs in a publicly owned & funded government building banning video?

    Our local LEOs don’t like being in front of the camera, and most of the population here is asleep, but they wouldn’t make this attempt…

    Nicely posted, Carlos. :)

  • io-io

    No a lawyer and not providing legal advice, but it has been referenced in other threads here that Writ of Mandamus should work in terms of having the camera returned. The police department should also have gotten a warrant to view the video.

    • io-io

      I believe you could file a Writ of Mandamus for 1) the return of the camera; 2) to not have the video deleted / destroyed from the camera; 3) to not have the video viewed with out the appropriate warrant; or 4) have the video copied with out the appropriate subpoena.

      http://www.wisegeek.com/how-do-i-file-for-a-writ-of-mandamus.htm

  • markgriz

    Evidence of what, their own stupidity?

  • Ian Battles

    Time to submit FoIA requests for the police station’s security camera footage…

  • nospamformo

    Call the Mayor, Mr. Greg Jones. (337) 788-4100 http://www.crowley-la.com/

  • nospamformo

    Puclic records request for the City of Crowley. Not sure if this also covers the PD. http://www.crowley-la.com/forms/PUBrecords/PUBLIC%20RECORDS%20REQUEST%20FORM.pdf

  • jwalsh

    Just called the chief, and talked too him. He listened and understood what I said. He was nice….but keep on calling!

  • Ryan French

    Also contact the local paper so they can run the story. As stated another town’s newspaper covered it but the Crowley Post Signal did not. The only reason I can think of is that the CPS is afraid to run a negative story about the local PD. It does happen, I live in a large city and a local sheriff’s department banned a television station from press conferences until they stopped airing investigative pieces on them. It worked. I’m sure the politics is just as corrupt in these small towns. Tell the Crowley Post Signal to run this important story happening in their own town!

    http://www.crowleypostsignal.com/contact

  • Another Crowley resident

    The Crowley Police Dept is so corrupt and really needs to be investigated.Its only getting worse They threated to arrest me for asking them to move their vechiles, when 6 cars came and blocked our entry. Not a one could take the complaint because the incident actually occured somewheres else.They all stood there shooting the breeze and when I asked them to move I was told I had 3 seconds to get out of their crime scene or be arrested. I was not filming or anything simply ask them to move some of the cars but they are so cooky.You have no protection unless your kin or friend. Sad part is I have no choice but to pay taxes for law enforcement. If you ask me the side of their cars should read we collect revenue not we serve and protect.

    • ProudGrandPa

      Was there a crime scene? If not, document and talk to an attorney and let him talk to the chief. If there were a crime scene, accept the fact that they win. Was there an actual crime scene?

  • Captain Obvious

    I do declare!

    Those Yankees in Rockefeller center got it dead on in “Maine Justice…”

    http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/digital-shorts/video/maine-justice/1426446/

  • inquisitor

    Why the fuck would you even go to the police station to give the chief a copy of the newspaper with your article that he surely would not be pleased to read published in it?

    What purpose or advantage to your case could that possibly have offered you?

    • Linz

      Obviously to show them that she had notified authorities and outlets. They act like they are the last stop on judgement making, but she was showing them that they are ignorant and misinformed. Obviously to see it she would have to drop it off.

      • inquisitor

        Right…so no advantage at all to her case.
        Completely ineffectual, impotent and stupid.
        A chick move.

    • HawaiiCorruption

      Probably to also let them know that she is a force to be reckoned with and will not back down. If our country had more people like her we would not have the corrupt police state a few of us are currently fighting.

      • inquisitor

        I spoke to my lawyer friend today and he told me that if I have a suit against someone that is pending with the use of lawyers and the courts, then the last thing you ever want to do is to seek out and meet the other party and present them with anything on your own. And truly stupid if that suit is with the police and you show up at their offices or their jail.

        And I don’t agree that you would not have the corrupt police state even with more people like her.

        Here is the example of what not to do while in a suit with the police as it does nothing to serve your own interests in anyway whatsoever…

        “So the local paper wouldn’t cover the story about the lawsuit and I eventually met a reporter in the next town over who was interested in covering it. His article ran in the Eunice Today last Sunday. They don’t sell the Eunice paper here in Crowley so my husband and I drove to Eunice and bought 45 copies to give out at our place of business. I also had the bright idea to drop off a copy at the police station. It was Sunday, so I knew the chief wouldn’t be there. I had every intention of bringing the paper in and leaving.”

        Absolutely no sane reason to even have wasted your time to do this.
        Not a bright idea at all.

        • ProudGrandPa

          Ink wrote

          if I have a suit against someone that is pending , then the last thing you ever want to do is to personally seek out and meet the other party and present them with anything on my own. This is what you are paying your lawyer for.
          And truly stupid to do this if your suit is with the police and you show up at their offices or their jail…to give them something.

          ProudGrandPa concurs. Still the PD erred in the original event which is the subject of the lawsuit. The PD will have its hands full with the subsequent camera events. This will set some precedents.
          .
          I try to keep an open mind and can also understand how the cops chose to interpret the existing Florida law. I believe their interpretation of the law is at odds with federal holding in other cases.

          • discarted

            “I try to keep an open mind and can also understand how the cops chose to interpret the existing Florida law.”

            Man, you have a tendency to see whatever you wanna see. This took place in Louisiana, not Florida.

          • ProudGrandPa

            Oh come on. Y’all know what this good ol’ boy meant. (That is Suffren Speak)
            Any predictions about the national football championship? Auburn or FL State? May as well discuss something less controversial.

          • inquisitor

            I am more interested in investigating alleged unfair anti-cop websites and squeaky clean police departments within your locale.

  • Stretchrunner147

    Chief KP Gibson aren’t you the guy who got caught sniffing the jockstraps of the HS football team? You were the laundry boy, right? Boy you look like a complete DoucheBag now….

    • Film The Police Always

      Oh no, he was caught doing that? Those type of folks in school were not only really odd, but they were the ones that would support any and all bad behavior to have people (employee’s) like him. That’s the difference between a boss and a friend, and most folks can’t differentiate between the two, so here lies the problem with runaway cops,. KP, time to have a closed door meeting and lay down the “How To Treat Citizens” way of doing things. It’s not to late to effect change.

      Like kids, cops need boundaries set-up, and their recent actions against this women for videotaping proves this. Lay down the “proverbial” law with these cops and clean things up. Most will change and do well, where a small percentage will fight you all the way and will bad mouth you to others. THOSE are the ones you either remove or they will remove themselves. Trust me KP, it wont take long for your department to turn around.

  • hardh8

    Thugs with guns. This is Pharaoh 0bama’s America

  • joey

    GOD HONEST, GO TAKE A LOOK, THIS IS THEIR DAMN MISSION STATEMENT, I SAY, TOO BAD THEY DONT HAVE ANYONE IN THE DEPT THAT CAN READ! ITS ALL BULLSHIT, AND SO ARE THEY, FULL OF IT, IT IS COMING OUT THEIR DAMN EARS!

    Mission Statement

    It is the mission of the Crowley Police Department to provide the most modern and professional law enforcement services available to the citizens of the City of Crowley. The mission is also to maintain cooperation and assistance with federal, state, & local law enforcement agencies, keep the citizens aware of matters affecting their safety, provide training of police officers, and upgrading of modern technology and equipment.

    • inquisitor

      It would seem the money they have doled out to their public relations rep was well spent.
      Meanwhile, the mafia continues unabated.

  • ducky1

    you know some of you people are sickining these cops work 12 hour shifts and risk there lives each and every day not all cops are bad you will reap what you sew just saying

    • SomeGuy

      Please put some effort into your posts so that they can at least be comprehended. Try using:
      You
      Sickening.
      These
      their
      day.
      Not
      bad.
      You
      sow.
      Just
      saying.

    • Dan-O

      According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics policing did
      not crack the top 10 in 2012 as the most dangerous jobs in the US

      • inquisitor

        meat packing is more dangerous

    • Film The Police Always

      I guess school in LA wasn’t a priority for you was it? If cops would just do what they were hired to do, and that’s protect & serve and to make sure all citizens rights are protected then this type of thing would not happen. Give a badge and a gun to a moron and this is what happens. Cops don’t own the people nor do they make up their own laws. Cops today like to control and “I’ll SHOW THEM WHO’S BOSS”. Cowards do this!

    • inquisitor

      Well boo-fucking-hoo.
      Then change careers.

    • Alexander Vucelic

      Cops have just about the safest blue collar possible. They manifestly do not risk their lives every day. And since when is working a 12 hour shift so extraordinary ?

      Stop your whiney crybaby attitude

  • AnonGhost

    Time to gather the crew from Anonymous

  • Jose Jimenez

    Carlos,
    It’s hard to take anything you write seriously when you write things like, “We can pretty much assume that police had intended to steal the safe, which is why they were angry that the two men were removing it from the burnt house.”
    This tells me your “reporting” is far from objective. As a journalist, you should just report the facts….but wait, this is a blog, so you can say anything you want…so it’s entertainment, not reporting…got it!

    • ProudGrandPa

      Yeah, I was wondering about that myself. Was Carlos quoting something someone else had said or written? His remark is not in quotes.
      .
      Carlos is usually pretty level headed, so I cannot believe he meant this as written. Or maybe he has some additional evidence that the cops involved were / are thieves. I suppose that would justify Carlos’ comment.

      • n4zhg

        Lots of video on YouTube of Louisiana law enforcement participating in the looting after Katrina.

        • inquisitor

          Now this is true and there are many stories of police, fire, or rescue also looting houses and stealing valuables after fires.

      • inquisitor

        These are good points relating to responsible and objective journalism.
        While commentary on the part of a journalist can show bias regarding an article or a certain topic, to charge that bullying cops were going to steal something without some kind of validating evidence behind the charge is irresponsible.
        It would be exhibiting the same false charge allegation that cops tend to make that innocent citizens do not appreciate having leveled against them.

        If there were additional evidences to justify the comment then that should have been included.

    • Alexander Vucelic

      Of course they were going to steal the safe

    • http://www.policemisconduct.net Film The Police Always

      Oh come on, they were most definitely going to steal that safe. These boys think they own the people down there. It’s time for the people to rise up and set them up. Them there boys are CORRUPT!

  • Dan-O

    Is there any legal recourse if exigent circumstances did not exist when confiscating someone’s personal property?
    So, when confronted about photography try to end any statements with” but I will be more than happy to make a copy for you” theoretically this should take exigent circumstances off the table

  • Shonna

    My brother was shot and killed when he was 23 years old in 1993 by a boy named Waylon which was the nephew of kent Goss. They covered it up and nothing ever happened to the boy. It is not even in there system anymore. Crowley PD is definitely corrupt. They need to be investigated by the FBI and maybe they could investigate the murder of my brother too.

    • http://www.policemisconduct.net Film The Police Always

      Nobody took out revenge? Shocking! Where I come from, we sit back and let them forget, we study them, look very carefully at the surroundings and then leave our phones at home. Patience

  • connlyfox

    It has to be on the city books as a law I am sure and must have been voted into the books by the people

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  • Fotaugrafee

    Kudos to Ms. Richards for being one of those who “gets it”!! :D

  • Fotaugrafee

    I haven’t paged through both articles yet, or all of the comments, but there seems to be links lacking on the main Crowley website. Here’s the direct link to their Police Department & various emails associated with them.

    http://www.crowley-la.com/DEPTpolice.html

  • Wesley Bishop

    I called them do they have a facebook page?

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