Authorities in Livingston Parish, Louisiana say a deputy acted appropriately in trying to arrest a man at a traffic stop who died while in custody. Dash cam video of deadly traffic stop released – Updated: July 10, 2009 07:21 AM
LIVINGSTON, LA (WAFB) – The Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office has released the dash cam video of a deadly traffic stop and in doing so said its deputies followed procedure.
The video shows Deputy Chris Sturdivant as he pulls over 42-year-old Adam Stogner. The tape starts with the deputy asking Stogner for his license. It ends with an officer asking the man if he’s still breathing.
Chief Deputy Jason Ard says when the video starts Adam Stogner did not put his truck in park. They say that backs up the reason he was pulled over. The deputy believed he was impaired. On the tape, there is audio of the deputy asking for Stogner’s license. “What you got in your hand? the deputy then asks. “Give me your hand,” he demands. “I don’t have nothing in my hand,” Stogner responds. “I swear to you.”
The media watched the video with Ard and several other law enforcement agents. “Pay attention to the subject’s right hand,” Ard said. On the dash cam video, the deputy tells Stogner to open his hand. Deputies say they believe Stogner was holding a baggy of narcotics in his right hand. The tape shows Stogner moving something from one hand to the other and placing it in his mouth. “Did you see him put it in his mouth? Ard asks. “Right there and this is where the struggle starts,” he points out. “Spit it out!” the deputy tells Stogner.
All this is happening while the deputy was trying to handcuff the man. The deputy does get one cuff on, but because the two seem to be in a wrestling match, Ard says that loose cuff can be a weapon. At several points, there are images of what looks like the deputy hitting Stogner. The sheriff’s office says another time it looks like Stogner is crawling toward the interstate with the deputy on his back. And again, it appears the deputy hits the man.
With states across the country feeling the effects of the economic crisis gripping the land, some legislators are engaging in the cheap politics of resentment as a supposed budget-cutting move. In at least six states, bills have been filed that would require people seeking public assistance and/or unemployment benefits to submit to random drug testing, with their benefits at stake.
Drug tests: don't waste the money
In Arizona, Hawaii, Missouri, and Oklahoma, bills have been filed that would force people seeking public assistance to undergo random drug tests and forego benefits if they test positive. In Florida, a bill has been filed to do the same to people who receive unemployment compensation. In West Virginia, both groups are targeted. In most cases, legislators are pointing to the 1996 federal Welfare Reform Act, which authorized — but did not require — random drug testing as a condition of receiving welfare benefits. But a major problem for the proponents of such schemes is that the only state to try to actually implement a random drug testing program got slapped down by the federal courts.
Michigan passed a welfare drug testing law in 1999 that required all Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) applicants to provide urine samples to be considered eligible for assistance. But that program was shut down almost immediately by a restraining order. Three and a half years later, the US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an earlier district court ruling that the blanket, suspicionless testing of recipients violated the Fourth Amendment’s proscription of unreasonable searches and seizures and was thus unconstitutional.
“This ruling should send a message to the rest of the nation that drug testing programs like these are neither an appropriate or effective use of a state’s limited resources,” said the ACLU Drug Policy Litigation Project head Graham Boyd at the time.