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Officer Who Used Excessive Force on La. Teacher Sued for Same in 2012

January 10, 2018

UPDATE 01-11-18: I corrected some details in the post below regarding the grass cutting mishap. The behavior of the officers involved remains unchanged from the initial posting.

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Reginald “Reggie” Hilts, the officer who threw Vermillion Parish (Louisiana) teacher Deyshia Hargrave to the ground; cuffed her, and dragged her from the school board meeting building on January 08, 2018, has a prior history of using unneccesary force.

I first wrote about Hargrave’s situation in this January 09, 2018, post.

In 2012, Hilts and fellow City of Scott (Louisiana) officer Mark Venable were sued in US District Court, Western District of Louisiana (Lafayette) for violating the civil rights of 62-year-old Bruce Falcon, a man suffering from chronic cirrhosis of the liver and who, as a result, was warned by his doctor to avoid cuts and bruises because his blood might not properly clot and could lead to his bleeding to death.

The incident with Venable and Hilts involved overgrown grass on an undeveloped lot that Falcon owned and that had already been cut. The individuals that the City of Scott sent (under the direction of Officer Venable) to cut the grass accidentally cut grass at the wrong address. Falcon also owned the misidentified property.

It turns out that Officer Venable confused the property addresses and instructed the lawn care service involved to cut the grass at the incorrect address.

When Falcon tried to explain to officers Venable and Hilts the error, the two officers without warning grabbed Falcon and slammed his head against a door and then slammed his head on concrete, splitting Falcon’s head open, fracturing one of his ribs, and bruising his face, arm, and shoulders. As a result of the incident, Falcon also suffered from headaches and neck pain.

The case, Falcon v. Venable, is available here.

In March 2016, settlement was reached, the details of which are not disclosed. However, what is known is that Hilts is still functioning as a police officer.

On January 10, 2018, Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE) president, Debbie Meaux, offered the following statement via email as per my request:

LAE fully supports Vermilion Association of Educators member and leader Deyshia Hargrave. As President of the Louisiana Association of Educators, in conjunction with the National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen-Garcia, a joint statement in support of Deyshia and all educators who suffer the injustice of being silenced and disrespected has been issued.

Deyshia is currently being represented by the LAE attorney Brian Blackwell. Our NEA General Counsel Alice O’Brien has been apprised of the situation and will be brought in if needed.
LAE fully supports the right of all educators to exercise fully their democratic rights and duties as citizens. LAE is looking at the legal possibility of pursuing a suit based on a breach by the school board of Deyshia’s First Amendment rights.

Governor John Bel Edwards and First Lady Donna Edwards have expressed their support for Deyshia and her right to speak freely. For too long educators have been maligned and treated as though they are “the hired help”. And once again, it was a woman disrespected. This kind of violence and humiliation of educators must stop!

As LAE President, I issued the following statement the day after the event:

LAE was informed of the situation involving Deyshia Hargrave since shortly after the incident occurred. She is, in fact, a member of our association, and our attorney, Mr. Brian Blackwell, is working with her on next steps – he has been since Monday (1/8) evening.

As an organization that advocates for the dedicated school employees of Louisiana, we firmly denounce the mistreatment of Ms. Hargrave, a loving parent and dedicated teacher serving the students of Vermilion Parish. It is every citizen’s right to speak up for their beliefs. Any action that infringes upon this right is unlawful and unacceptable.

We will continue to support the right of every single school employee to take an interest in, and ultimately stand up for, the best interests of their schools and their students.

Debbie Meaux

I will continue to follow this story.

photo (3)  Reginald “Reggie” Hilts

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Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

5 Comments
  1. speduktr permalink

    Thank you for staying on top of this story.

  2. It is very clear that this person should not be in any profession that requires working with people, especially law enforcement. He doesn’t possess any tact or patients for defusing a situation. His peace officer license should be revoked permanently.

  3. Laura H. Chapman permalink

    Thanks for staying on top of this story.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Vermillion Parish Supt. on Hargrave’s Arrest: “I Should Have Stood Up, Okay?” | deutsch29
  2. La. Teacher Thrown to Ground and Cuffed at School Board Meeting: Follow-Up | deutsch29

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