The Jefferson Parish, La. sheriff’s deputy who was recorded on video last month as he repeatedly slammed a Black woman’s head into the pavement has been on the receiving end of nine federal civil rights lawsuits for excessive force.
Per NOLA.com, the deputy has been identified as 16-year sheriff’s office veteran Julio Alvarado–who has been named in the most excessive force suits out of any of the department’s other current deputies. The woman in the video, Shantel Arnold, previously told investigators that she was walking home after she had been assaulted by neighborhood boys when Alvarado pulled up to her and demanded she stop and talk to him.
Witnesses said that he then got out and threw Arnold to the ground unprovoked, leading to the assault shown in the viral video.
More from NOLA:
The Sheriff’s Office, in keeping with its usual policy, did not respond to a request to identify the deputy when asked Thursday. But the office has said it opened an internal probe into the deputy’s actions shortly after the incident, though Arnold did not file a complaint. That’s an action the Sheriff’s Office often does not take, even in cases where citizens complain about the inappropriate use of force.
The probe remains open. At the same time, the office issued a statement on Wednesday saying the video had been “selectively edited.” The statement asserted that Arnold was intoxicated and that she had been resisting arrest.
Imagine trying to justify the actions of a man–with a noted history of excessive force, no less–who violently slammed a woman’s head to the ground so hard that it tore out some of her braids. Couldn’t be me, man.
It should also be noted that witnesses at the scene denied that Arnold resisted Alvarado and that Arnold said she wasn’t intoxicated, per NOLA.
Among the civil rights lawsuits filed against Alvarado, NOLA reports, is a 2016 suit that claimed he grabbed a 14-year-old Hispanic boy and slammed his head against concrete while allegedly threatening to have him and his family deported. Another included a Honduran native claiming Alvarado and three other deputies beat him and stole more than $2,000 from him during a traffic stop. Both of those cases were settled in court.
The ACLU of Lousiana issued a statement saying that the sheriff’s office’s “continued employment of Alvarado, despite his history of excessive force claims, is part of a troubling pattern.”
Nora Ahmed, the Louisiana ACLU’s legal director, went on to say this in a tweet:
“We are talking about a police agency that is fully on notice that it is employing officers who engage in this type of misconduct, and yet knowingly and willfully turns a blind eye to that conduct.”