Bogalusa mayor elect calling for police chief to resign after filing of a lawsuit

Published 2:05 pm Tuesday, November 29, 2022

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Bogalusa’s mayor elect is calling for the police chief to resign after the filing of a federal lawsuit alleging police violated the civil rights of a man who died while in custody.

In a statement posted to Mayor Elect Tyrin Troung’s Facebook page on Nov. 25, Troung cites video footage released by The Advocate relating to the arrest of Eric Nelson Sr. in December 2021.

“There is clear disregard for human life present in this footage,” Troung writes. “… I am formally calling on Bogalusa Police Chief Kendall Bullen to resign. His tenure has been marred with callousness, incompetence, and a lack of transparency.”

Nelson, 28, was taken into custody on Dec. 11, 2021, after crashing his Chevy Malibu into a ditch. He was arrested on outstanding drug warrants after the crash and was later tased when he attempted to flee. According to reports, Nelson complained of being tired and being short of breath in the car ride to the jail.

The video, which was taken from at the police station, apparently shows a handcuffed Nelson limp while being pulled from the police vehicle and laid on the ground. An ambulance arrived after about five minutes.

The lawsuit was filed by Kenyatte Spikes, the mother of Nelson’s minor son, and names the city of Bogalusa; several police offices; two Washington Parish deputies; and Sheriff Randy “Country” Seal as defendants.

According a report by the Advocate, the suit claims office used excessive force, failed to intervene, then sought to cover up the actions during Nelson’s time in custody. Nelson suffered face and neck injuries, brain swelling and other trauma at the hands of officials, the suit alleges. 

The Bogalusa Police Department posted a statement on its Facebook page on Nov. 25, saying “In response to the article released on 11/24/22 by The Advocate. Immediately after this incident the Louisiana State Police was contacted.  A full investigation into the case and all involved was launched and is still ongoing. The Bogalusa Police Department is fully cooperating with the Louisiana State Police as they continue their investigation into this incident. Any questions or new leads should be directed to the Louisiana State Police Investigative Division. 985-893-6250.”

Troung said a change in the leadership at the police department is a necessary step in “restoring the trust within our community.” He also says in his statement that while he cannot fire the police chief immediately due to civil service protections, “I vow to do everything I can within the law to hold him accountable should he refuse to resign.” He goes on to promise a full investigation. “My administration will use the full extent of the law to push for an investigation to ensure any wrongdoers are held accountable.”

He also calls on the pubic to “remain calm, peaceful and engaged in the coming weeks. Our work has just begun.”