UPDATE 2:22 PM – JPSO HAS RELEASED A STATEMENT ON THIS INCIDENT. SEE BELOW.
A social media video that appears to show Jefferson Parish police officers planting evidence at the scene of an arrest is quickly gaining attention today after being shared by a local media personality.
The video was retweeted on Twitter by Nader Mirfiq, the host of WBOK Radio’s Sports Overtime. In the video, one JPSO officer restrains a suspect with his back turned to two other officers. One officer, after appearing to search the ground for a few moments, reaches back and takes a white substance from another officer behind him, and places it on the ground near the restrained suspect. He then picks up the substance, as well as a packet off the ground.
“He just – he just put it… I’m recording, hey I’m recording,” a woman could be heard saying on the video. At that point, the officer rises from the ground and begins to chase the person holding the camera before the video cuts off.
“Jefferson Parish police planting drugs on this man. WOW!!!” Mirfiq’s tweet reads.
Jefferson Parish police planting drugs on this man. WOW!!! https://t.co/HRky4N3sxT
— Nader Mirfiq (@Nader723) March 17, 2020
UPDATE: JPSO has released a statement on this incident
“The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating an arrest made on March 16 in Bridge City. A part of the arrest was captured on video that is circulating on social media.
At approximately 3:00 pm, deputies responded to a 911 call for service which gave details of a male in a red t-shirt and tie-dyed pants selling drugs in the area of Commerce Street and 6th Street in Bridge City. Deputies located a male fitting the caller’s exact description near the intersection of 4th Street and Westwego Avenue. During the drug investigation, the male resisted officers’ attempts to investigate the matter, ultimately leading to his arrest. A JPSO deputy was bitten by the male during the investigation. The deputy was treated and released from the hospital.
The video in question is part of the evidence that has been collected in this case. It has been alleged by third parties that evidence on the scene was planted by one of our deputies. Our on-scene deputies have been interviewed in this matter and gave reasonable explanations to the actions depicted in the video. We will further investigate this matter with anyone that has any direct knowledge of the incident. Our investigation will be accurate and thorough, and if it is determined that our deputies acted improperly, JPSO will act accordingly.
“It should be noted that the suspected drug evidence recovered on the scene tested negative for narcotics, but was collected nonetheless and was sent to the Crime Laboratory for further testing. The arrested individual was not booked with any narcotics charges, but will face charges for battery on an officer, battery on an officer with injury, and resisting arrest with force or violence.
Anyone with information about this incident, including additional video footage, may contact our investigations Bureau at 504-364-5300.
JPSO statement on viral arrest video—full release below pic.twitter.com/Pi94wytaJJ
— JP Sheriff's Office (@JeffParishSO) March 17, 2020
Jenn Bentley is a freelance journalist based in New Orleans specializing in politics and social justice issues. In 2019, she was given the title of “Most Fearless” by The Bayou Brief. Follow her on Twitter: @JennBentley_