Multiple Charges Against Police Officer
(LA) – Sergeant Paul Thibodeaux, with the Thibodaux Police Department, was arrested on October 29, on charges of “malfeasance in office, injuring public records and second-degree battery.” The arrest stems from an August 27 arrest made by Sergeant Thibodeaux. Though the Thibodaux Police department acted quickly in addressing police misconduct, they have released no information regarding what happened.
Thibodaux Police Chief Zeringue did give a statement, regarding the arrest, in which claims there was a violation of policy and law.
According to WDSU.com,
We were notified of allegations of wrongdoing by one of our Patrol Sergeants, Paul Thibodeaux. As the investigation progressed, a warrant was obtained. Thibodeaux has been placed on administrative leave without pay pending a Loudermill hearing.
Criminal Investigation Follows Internal Affairs Investigation
The excessive force incident was first the subject of an internal affairs investigation. The internal affairs investigation concluded that department policy had been violated, but also determined that criminal actions had been performed. The case was referred to the appropriate section for a criminal investigation to be conducted. The charges of malfeasance in office, injuring public records and second-degree battery were filed. Sergeant Thibodeaux was arrested and the judge set a $30,000 bond.
Sergeant Thibodeaux, a 38-year old Patrol sergeant, “was arrested Friday and booked into the Lafourche Parish jail, where he posted $30,000 bail.” He was released from jail.
What the Criminal Charges Mean
The police chief may be refusing to release any information on what Sergeant Thibodeaux did, but we can get an idea from the charges filed.
A. Malfeasance in office is committed when any public officer or public employee shall:
(1) Intentionally refuse or fail to perform any duty lawfully required of him, as such officer or employee; or
(2) Intentionally perform any such duty in an unlawful manner; or
(3) Knowingly permit any other public officer or public employee, under his authority, to intentionally refuse or fail to perform any duty lawfully required of him, or to perform any such duty in an unlawful manner.
B. Any duty lawfully required of a public officer or public employee when delegated by him to a public officer or public employee shall be deemed to be a lawful duty of such public officer or employee. The delegation of such lawful duty shall not relieve the public officer or employee of his lawful duty.
So, basically, he either didn’t do what he was suppose to, did something criminal, or allowed someone else to do something they were not supposed to.
A. First degree injuring public records is the intentional removal, mutilation, destruction, alteration, falsification, or concealment of any record, document, or other thing, filed or deposited, by authority of law, in any public office or with any public officer.
B. Second degree injuring public records is the intentional removal, mutilation, destruction, alteration, falsification, or concealment of any record, document, or other thing, defined as a public record pursuant to R.S. 44:1 et seq. and required to be preserved in any public office or by any person or public officer pursuant to R.S. 44:36.
The level of the charge was not listed in any of the articles I looked at. But the definition of the charge tells us he either falsified or destroyed/got rid of records. This charge is kind of weird. Both refer to public records, That would indicate to me that they are subject to retention periods. I can’t tell what the real difference is between the two levels, but I’m not an attorney. Maybe some kind lawyer type will comment on this post and explain it for us.
A. Second degree battery is a battery when the offender intentionally inflicts serious bodily injury; however, this provision shall not apply to a medical provider who has obtained the consent of a patient.
Well that’s simple enough, someone was assaulted by Sergeant Thibodeaux. But to further clarify Justia US law also states,
(3) “Serious bodily injury” means bodily injury which involves unconsciousness, extreme physical pain or protracted and obvious disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty, or a substantial risk of death.
Putting the three definitions together, it sounds like Sergeant Thibodeaux committed malfeasance in office by committing a criminal act. The criminal act appears to be the intentional infliction of serious bodily injury, hence the second-degree battery charge. And injuring of public records indicates they believe he either lied or got rid of evidence.
We wouldn’t have to guess if the Thibodaux Police Department would just be transparent about what their police officers do. Is anyone, besides me, wondering about the race of the person who was assaulted?