Assaulting a police officer is a crime that earns special attention and sentencing from prosecutors and judges – unless, of course, the person doing the assaulting has special privileges that come with a badge. After shoving a Brusly police officer during a traffic stop in a drunken rage, Ronnie Graham was issued a mere misdemeanor summons for simple battery. While most people would likely face felony charges for assault on a police officer, Graham happens to be a Major at the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office.
It all took place Sunday night after Graham’s daughter was pulled over by Brusly police for driving with a single working headlight. Also in the car was her mother and boyfriend. Her mother decided to step out the car to let them know her husband was a high-ranking sheriff’s official.
She ended up in handcuffs.
According to WAFB:
“I stepped out my patrol car and the passenger met me at my driver’s side door,” Zalfen wrote in his incident report. “At this time, I informed the passenger that I was detaining her for my safety. The passenger told me she was Nancy Graham, Maj. Ronnie Graham’s wife. I attempted to place handcuffs on Mrs. Graham and Mrs. Graham pulled away. I grabbed Mrs. Graham by her left wrist and turned her around and placed the handcuffs on Mrs. Graham.”
Graham has been with the West Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office for nearly 30 years and currently is the chief of uniform patrol. Graham was not in the car that was stopped. His wife, daughter and his daughter’s boyfriend were in the car. Graham’s family called him at home to go to the scene after his wife ended up handcuffed by Zalfen. Graham had someone drive him to the scene, and when he arrived, he was furious.
“What the **** you put her in handcuffs for?” asked Graham.
“Whenever she got out of her vehicle, I told her to get back in her vehicle. I don’t know this lady,” said Zalfen.
Graham then shoved officer Chris Hogan as can be seen in the dash cam video. And Hogan pulled out his Taser.
But rather than get tased or jailed or killed, Graham was chauffeured off the scene by West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Mike Cazes, who showed up and explained that Ronnie had been drinking. It was Cazes who decided to charge him with simple battery.
For anyone without a police badge, be careful using “I’ve been drinking” as an excuse for cursing and assaulting police officers.
This story is just another reminder that the law is applied differently when you’re a member of the boys in blue. NYPD Officer Patrick Pogan received no jail time whatsoever after violently shoving a cyclist into the ground. A San Diego police detective received no jail sentence for a car crash in which he admitted he had been driving recklessly and under the influence. And of course, anyone with time and a search engine can find dozens of other cases of officers let off the hook – often with a paid leave of absence from the police – after committing battery, assault, and even murder.
The lesson – crime apparently does pay, as long as you’re a police officer.