Iberia Louisiana Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal, Lt. Colonel Gerald Savoy and former Captain Mark Fredrick were named in a second superseding indictment handed down today by the United States Western District Court in Lafayette.
Ackal was originally indicted in March on civil rights violations related to the beating of five inmates in the chapel of the parish jail. Another indictment was also handed down in June for other civil rights charges related to the beating of a prisoner in retaliation for the assault of one of Ackal’s relatives.
In June, after the first superseding indictment against him, Ackal defiantly told a KLFY reporter the following:
“What they have cannot be substantiated. It’s bull as far as I’m concerned. I’m very disgusted and aggravated that this is continuing and continuing. There still running grand jury which is costing the taxpayers quite a bit of money. But, let’s see if they can come up with anything else.”
But it looks like investigators and the grand jury did come up with something else. The indictment includes new allegations that Ackal instructed his employees and supervisors to “work over” anyone who “sassed or spit” on them, among other things.
According to the indictment:
“Ackal further directed IPSO employees and supervisors during various staff meetings that if they ‘worked over’ a person, hey should charge the person with resisting arrest. Ackal instructed senior IPSO officials involved in Internal Affairs (IA) that, if a use of force complaint came in and the paperwork indicated that the subject ‘resisted arrest,’ the IA official should find the complaint unfounded.”
Ackal’s directives may not have sat well with internal affairs investigators after a November 2008 altercation between three drunk off -duty narcotics agents that encountered two African American men and violently assaulted them. An Iberia Parish deputy responded to the incident and listed the agents as suspects of the assault in the report he filed.
The indictment alleges that Ackal then directed a “high-ranking official” to delete the report. He didn’t stop there though. In early 2009 Ackal also directed all of the internal affairs files to be destroyed to avoid them becoming public and in March of that same year he disbanded the internal affairs unit altogether.
The allegations don’t stop there. The indictment also mentions another incident between Savoy and a suspect who assaulted a deputy during an earlier arrest. Savoy is said to have driven the suspect to a remote location, forced him out of the car to kneel on the ground. The suspect was forced to hold one of Savoy’s bullets in his mouth before the deputy put his gun in the suspect’s mouth and threatened to kill him for assaulting the deputy.
Nine former deputies have already pleaded guilty to reduced charges in exchange for their testimony against Ackal, Savoy, and Mark Fredrick. The trial is set to start on October 31 in Shreveport.
You can read the new indictment here.