Hammond, LA — A disturbing video was leaked this week which is leading to calls for the chief of the Hammond police department to resign. It shows multiple officers put boots and knees on a man’s face and neck as other officers savagely kick and punch him. The entire time, the victim, Kentdrick Ratliff, was handcuffed and unable to defend himself much less pose a threat to the officers.
The video was leaked to the local ABC affiliate WBRZ this week and depicts an act that is nothing short of graphic and criminal. The video was released publicly on Wednesday, yet the police chief and the city have refused to acknowledge it. This is despite the fact that officers within the department were the ones to leak the video.
“We are dismayed and extremely disappointed that Hammond Police Chief Edwin Bergeron and Mayor Pete Panepinto have yet to release a statement regarding the incidents,” the state, Hammond area and Baton Rouge NAACP groups said in a joint letter released to WBRZ Wednesday.
As the video shows, Ratliff, who was arrested on an alleged drug offense, was sitting quietly in a chair while being booked into the jail. He then made the terrible decision to stand up and attempt to pick up his bottle of pills police had confiscated. That’s when all hell broke loose.
When Ratliff tries to grab the pills, an officer pulls him over the desk and wedges him between the desk and a set of computers before unleashing a fury of fists to the handcuffed and helpless man’s face.
More cops enter the room and the handcuffed man is then tasered. He is completely held down and incapacitated with one cops boot to his face and another cop’s knee to his neck, when another officer comes from behind and delivers a kick to his testicles. Ratliff is beaten and essentially tortured while handcuffed for over a minute straight.
After the incident, which happened in 2017, no mention of the video was made and Ratliff and the citizens of Hammond were left in the dark. The NAACP was even told that the video did not exist.
“When I first saw that video, the first thing I thought was this is atrocious,” Eugene Collins with the NAACP said. “Knowing the NAACP worked the situation a few years ago and at that point we were under the understanding that video did not exist…only clips.”
According to WBRZ, only one of the officers involved was disciplined and later hired an attorney and use of force consultant to review the footage who determined some actions were legal.
“I got beat, stomped, kicked in my groin,” Ratliff said in an interview with WBRZ.
Another officer, Edwin Bergeron, who was seen repeatedly punching Ratliff in the head was not disciplined. Instead, he was promoted to police chief. This was in spite of the use of force investigation finding that his actions were “excessive and borderline criminal.”
In the letter calling for the chief’s resignation, the NAACP local groups wrote: ”This behavior is egregious enough, but a blatant lie accompanied this behavior by your Police Department that the leaked video did not exist. Years later, good Officers on the Hammond Police Department leaked both the video and report in question. In light of everything we now know, we demand the immediate resignation of Chief Edwin Bergeron.”
WBRZ reports that the mayor never replied to their requests for comment, however, they spoke to three council members who all said they had not seen the full video before a decision was made to appoint Bergeron as Chief.
“We have law enforcement officers from all over the state calling us saying this is bad,” Collins said. “He went too far. There are consultants that looked at this saying it’s borderline criminal. If the mayor saw this video before he appointed the police chief, this is not a man who can be trusted to run the city. He needs to be held accountable as well.”
Below is a video showing that even criminal acts caught on video of an officer savagely attacking a handcuffed man, will be no deterrent against moving up through the ranks of law enforcement. In fact, it won’t even prevent you from becoming the top cop in town.