New Iberia, LA -- Shocking surveillance footage, which was subpoenaed by federal investigators, shows a savage and violent attack on Louisiana man by a sheriff's deputy and his K9 partner. The footage was so deeply disturbing that 6 years after it happened, the deputy responsible has finally been brought to justice.
Former sheriff's deputy David Prejean pleaded guilty in February to the assault and is only just now being sentenced. Prejean was a K9 sergeant with the Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office and had been called to the jail to assist with a shakedown, according to prosecutors. Prejean will now spend the next 30 months behind bars for the attack.
The attack happened on Dec 6, 2012. Marcus Robicheaux along with all of the other inmates was being subject to a contraband sweep. Like all of the other inmates, Robicheaux had his hands on his head and his nose on the wall.
As the video begins, we see Deputy Prejean, grab Robicheaux by the back of his shirt and drag him to the middle of the room where he's thrown to the ground.
The entire time Robicheaux is seen keeping his hands up and not resisting. The prosecution agreed.
"While M.R. was lying on his stomach, with his hands behind his head, the defendant commanded his K9 to bite M.R., despite the fact that M.R. had complied with the defendant's commands and was not a threat to the defendant, his K9, or anyone else on the rec yard," prosecutors said in court documents.
“He grabbed me and slammed me down on the ground,” Robicheaux said in an interview in 2015. “He picked me out. Why? I don’t know. I still ask myself that to this day.”
Prejean then sics his K9 on the man who was clearly not a threat to officers. Robicheaux was mauled from head to toe. For the deputy, however, the mauling wasn't enough, so he began to brutally beat Robicheaux as he lay suffering from the bites.
Recommended for You
“I couldn’t do nothing but scream,” recalled Robicheaux in an interview with the Advocate. “The inmates couldn’t do nothing to help me.”
While the video has no sound, we can clearly see that Robicheaux posed no threat which happens to be completely contrary to Prejean's account of the incident.
In his report, Prejean claimed that Robicheaux was resisting and fighting back. He also said that the assault happened because Robicheaux refused his commands to "stop looking" at him. According to the Advocate,
Prejean’s report on the incident said that in addition to ignoring commands, Robicheaux “rocked up” and tried to strike the police dog “with his right hand.” The video does not show Robicheaux “rocking up” or trying to hit the dog.
“In a quick reaction, I gave Robicheaux a leg strike to Robicheaux’s left side and attempted to roll Robicheaux onto his stomach and into a prone position so he could be handcuffed,” Prejean wrote. The video shows that Robicheaux remains on his stomach as the officer strikes him with fists, knees and feet.
The entire department and all the officials bought Prejean's lies and he remained on the force. Not until officials actually viewed the footage, was Prejean fired. This took more than two years.
No investigation was ever conducted in regards to this attack. In March of 2015, according to the Advocate, former deputy, Cody Laperouse, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor federal civil rights charge for using excessive force against a handcuffed man in the same incident.
These incidents are hardly isolated and the Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office is no stranger to corruption. Warden Wesley Hayes has also filed a lawsuit against the Sheriff's office alleging that he was retaliated against and fired for attempting to point out the misconduct within the department.
In August of 2014, the Free Thought Project reported on the story of Victor White. White was being processed by Iberia Parish deputies when officials claimed he managed to get his hands on a gun. They then claimed that White, after being searched twice, then shot himself, in the back, while handcuffed.