WPSO lawsuit dismissed

Published 2:28 pm Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Chief Deputy Mike Haley of the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office said that a lawsuit against the WPSO was dismissed Tuesday in federal district court.

Haley said that on March 28, 2014, the WPSO responded to information that a wanted person living in Arkansas would be at a family gathering at a residence on Highway 430. The person, Roger Dale Magee, had an outstanding warrant for failure to pay child support.

Deputies went to the location and located Magee sitting on a patio with several other persons. When deputies approached Magee and advised him he was under arrest, he became angry and hostile and declared he was not going to jail, Haley said.

Haley said that deputies asked Magee to walk with them to another area so they could discuss the situation outside the presence of the other people, who were being very vocal and disruptive. At that point, Magee pulled away from a detective and headed toward the rear door of the residence. Magee was given verbal orders to stop but refused to do so and continued to walk away from the officers who feared he might have access to a weapon if he went inside, Haley said.

Magee was warned that a taser would be deployed unless he stopped, but he continued to walk away, Haley said. As he attempted to enter the rear door of the residence, the taser was deployed. Magee went to the ground and continued to resist as officers attempted to handcuff him. The taser was deployed again, after which officers were able to handcuff him.

Magee was then transported to the Washington Parish Jail where he was booked on charges of criminal neglect of family and resisting an officer. He was released from jail on July 7, 2014, after meeting the conditions of a $39,197 bond.

Haley said that after Magee’s release from jail, he retained an attorney from Los Angeles and filed a federal court lawsuit against the WPSO. In his lawsuit, Magee made several allegations including injuries suffered during the arrest, jail conditions and medical treatment he received while incarcerated. Haley said that most of Magee’s allegations were dismissed by the New Orleans-based U.S. District Court Judge, except circumstances surrounding the second tasing. A jury trial was held in New Orleans on Monday and Tuesday.

Testimony and closing arguments were concluded Tuesday afternoon and the case went to the jury for deliberation. After slightly more than one hour of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the WPSO, and all allegations against the WPSO were dismissed.

“This was a frivolous lawsuit from the get-go,” Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal said. “We were confident from the beginning that the case had no merit and that we would have a favorable verdict. Our fine officers were professional in all aspects of the arrest.

“Magee has previous arrests on various charges, including aggravated assault, and our officers knew to take every precaution in dealing with him. It’s a shame we had to use our limited resources defending a case which had no merit. I do hope Magee will stay up to date on his child support obligations.”