Misconduct allegations turn up little of substance

Published 4:53 am Saturday, November 5, 2016


At Tuesday’s city council meeting, Fate Ferrell publicly requested all police records from an Aug. 24, 2000, incident regarding alleged police abuse by Kendall Bullen, one of the applicants for the chief of police position.

According to Ferrell’s letter, “Kendall Bullen, while working in his capacity as a police officer did strike Johnny Lee Johnson about the head area with his hand held (M)aglight. The injuries to Johnson were significant enough to require serious medical treatment. The city was subsequently sued in this matter and charges against Johnson was dropped (sic). Bullen meanwhile received 30 days without pay for his actions.”

On Friday, the city police department made public its records of the arrest, and they tell a different story. According to a police report written at the time, Johnson, who died last year, was arrested on Aug. 24, 2000, but it was he, a boxer, who attacked police officers. It was the officers who ended up going to the hospital.

Even with the released documents, the rumors of misconduct may continue, as former Assistant Chief Willis Yarbrough is standing by his allegations of misconduct by Bullen. For his part, Bullen admits that Johnson filed a civil suit against him over a 2001 arrest, but Bullen said the arrest was legitimate and he was “exonerated” by the suit.

“That was a civil excessive force and a civil rights violation suit filed against me by Johnny Lee Johnson for an arrest where he was wanted for aggravated kidnapping and aggravated rape,” Bullen said. “He filed suit and that suit was investigated and I was exonerated.”

Bogalusa Mayor Wendy Perrette said she would not even consider any police chief candidate who had been found guilty of civil of criminal violations.

Although the Aug. 24, 2000, incident did not result in any lawsuit and also did not result in any allegation of police misconduct, it does portray Johnson as a violent, aggressive person who brags about his notoriety among law enforcement.

The report was written by Charles “Bubba” McDaniel, who is also a candidate for the chief of police.

According to McDaniel’s report, the incident began at 10:06 p.m.

“I, officer McDaniel,” the report begins, “was on patrol on Martin Luther King Drive at East Fourth Street. I observed a large crowd standing out front of the One Stop on MLK. I advised the crowd to disperse. I then observed a black male with an open beer in one hand and a full bottle of wine in the car.

“The subject stated, ‘(expletive) you, I ain’t did nothing.’ I asked the subject what his name was. He stated, ‘All you (expletive) police know me. I am Lee Brown.’ I then advised the subject not to use that language toward me. I then attempted to call for back up because of the demeanor of the subject. The subject then threw the open beer on the ground.

“I then advised the subject to place his hands behind his back. The subject then swung the bottle and attempted to strike (me) in the head. I attempted to block and was still struck in the left side of the head with a full bottle of wine. I then attempted to take this subject to the ground, the subject tore away from me and started running toward Sullivan Drive.

“Other officers were arriving at this time. Officers gave foot pursuit. Officers caught the suspect in the 800 block of Deloraine. Subject was handcuffed … and checked for tightness then transported to police headquarters where he was read his rights by form and booked accordingly.

“Officer Bullen and myself were taken to Charity for treatment of injuries. I was checked for head injuries and officer Bullen was checked for an ankle injury.”

Besides Bullen and McDaniel, the other officers at the scene were Charles Helton, R. Hodges, M. Godwin, John Stogner and Stephon Tyson.

Johnson was charged with open container, littering, resisting an officer violently and aggravated battery of a police officer. In addition, Johnson also had an outstanding felony warrant for burglary of an inhabited dwelling.