UPDATE: Attorneys for woman involved in Winnfield Police incident releases statement

Local News

UPDATE (4/1/19 at 10:00 p.m.): It’s been four grueling months for the Winnfield Police Department. 

“No one wins from this type of stuff,” said Winnfield Police Chief Johnny Carpenter

Louisiana State Police cleared  Winnfield Police Officer Justin Curry of all criminal wrongdoings in the case of Tanisha White.

“I’m pleased with it, I just hate what’s taken place,” said Carpenter. 

White alleged being tased back in November, which cost her an eye. The police report concludes no taser was used at any point.

“I wish I could say we were surprised and befuddled by this reaction,” said one of White’s lawyers Esq. Dedrick A. Moore.

White’s lawyers believe that even if a taser wasn’t used, her injuries dont match what the report claims.

“I do not believe by any means that the findings of the district attorneys office is conclusive,” said Esq. Ronald Haley.

Winnfield Police report that pepper spray from a JPX Jet Projector, which can spray up to 200 miles an hour, was the only weapon used. They indicate that White got her injuries from falling on the concrete.

However, her awyers aren’t buying it, “If someone falls, no one is going to directly fall on their eyeball,” said Moore.

Chief Carpenter revealed that Curry has been a reliable officer up until this incident and he is working to get him reinstated.

Curry did have a body camera on at the time of the incident, however, through the investigation it was declared faulty. Carpenter reports that every officer now has fully functional  body cameras and the technology will be crucial in future department procedures.

“Cameras have always been one of my top priorities, for this particular reason so I’m going to be very much enforcing it to the top at this point.”

White’s lawyers will have specialists review the report’s findings on her injuries to prove once and for all whether it was a taser or a pepper spray gun that cost White her eye.

Chief asks that citizens always follow officers commands and if you ever have an issue to take it up with the department afterward.

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UPDATE (4/1/19 at 3:30 p.m.): The lawyer of the woman who loster her eyesight in an incident with Winnfield Police has released a statement after the report that the officer has been relieved of any criminal responsibilities.

Read the full release below:

On March 29th, our Law Offices received a copy of the District Attorney’s file regarding the November 5, 2018 incident where, our client, Ms. Tanisha White lost her eyesight after an encounter with Winnfield Police Officer Justin Curry. Though we appreciate, District Attorney Nevils keeping his promise to disclose the file to us, we believe that the information provided more questions that than gives answers. conclusive answers. Specifically, why was ANY use of force necessary when Ms. White was not charged with a crime? How does this same encounter with the police leave Ms. White blind in one eye when she was not charged with a crime? How is the loss of an eye after an encounter with the police not be deemed excessive? Though the report indicates that Ms. White’s damage to her eye was caused by her falling face first to the concrete, the pictures of Ms. White taken immediately after the incident are not consistent with that explanation. There is also the issue pertaining to the taser. According to the report, Officer Curry did not use a taser that evening, instead he used a JPX pepper spray gun. Why would law enforcement officials wait four and a half months to dispel the notion that at taser was used? Furthermore, if in fact a JPX pepper spray gun was used, our initial research shows that getting fired upon with the JPX in close quarters (5 feet or less) can be devastating given that it discharges at a rate of 400 miles per hour, even more so if aimed towards a person’s face. Although Ms. White is disappointed with the conclusions reached by the District Attorney’s Office, we will continue to be diligent in our investigation of this matter and will proceed forward with a civil claim on behalf of our client.

Ronald Haley

Chris Murell

Dedrick Moore

Jamie Gontarek

(4/1/19 at 11:11 a.m.): A report released by Winn Parish District Attorney has relieved a Winnfield police officer of any criminal responsibilities after a tasing incident left one woman blind in one eye.

According to a release, District Attorney Chris Nevils released the report on Monday exonerating Winnfield Police Officer Justin Curry, relieving him of any criminal responsibility from injuries sustained by Tanisha Amos White on the night of November 5, 2018.

Read the full release below:

A report released by Winn District Attorney Chris Nevils exonerates Winnfield Police Officer Justin Curry, relieving him of any criminal responsibility from injuries sustained by Tanisha Amos White on the night of November 5, 2018. Winnfield Police Chief Johnny Ray Carpenter followed local protocol for officer-related injuries and requested the Louisiana State Police to investigate. The FBI joined the investigation shortly thereafter.

According to reports, on November 5, Officer Curry was dispatched to a residence on Pineville Street for an unwanted person. He had an encounter with Tanisha Amos White who resisted attempts to arrest her first by trying to attack a witness, then by physically resisting and attacking the officer. Contrary to news accounts, Officer Curry did not use an electronic control device, commonly called a “Taser” and does not carry a “Taser” for self-defense. He did push her off of him during the struggle and deployed a one round burst of a chemical agent from a chemical deployment device.

The device used is a less than lethal device manufactured by Piexon, Inc and distributed by JPX America called a JPX Jet Protector. It delivers a 10% solution of Oleoresin Capsicum, a substance derived from cayenne peppers. It is an irritant that, when the correct target area is hit, causes physical reactions such as coughing, involuntary eye-closure, nausea, and depletion of strength. Despite the physical reactions, persons sprayed are able to breathe and follow commands. It does not penetrate the skin.

During the struggle, White fell face first into the concrete driveway causing severe injuries to her face and eye. Though it remains unclear as to why she would fall each time, neither defensive move by the officer would result in a person falling face first. It was noted in the report that this occurred on a concrete driveway with a slope and it had been raining most of the day.

News reporters and ACLU lawyers have openly accused the Winnfield Police Department of a cover-up and refusal to cooperate, when, in fact, Chief Johnny Ray Carpenter requested an investigation by an outside agency to avoid any appearances of cover-up or favoritism. “I wanted the public to have complete faith in the results of the investigation,” he stated. “It was best for all parties to have the Louisiana State Police and FBI investigate this.” He went on to say that both agencies were very thorough. “If I had a complaint, it would be that it took too long to resolve due to White avoiding an interview with the investigating officers.”

Officers across the country are subject to false allegations and fake news reports. “I support each and every one of my officers, unless a person has concrete facts of criminal conduct or gross negligence,” Chief Carpenter stated. “I fully expect Officer Curry to be reinstated immediately. I commend his and his family’s patience during this difficult and challenging time.”

When asked about his failure to respond to inquiries, Chief Carpenter replied, “That was something totally out of my control. Once this investigation was given to the State Police, we were no longer able to make any public statements or comments concerning the incident. To do so would have been interfering and obstructing the investigation itself.”

Chief Carpenter also extended an appreciation for the immediate actions of the city council that immediately after the incident provided funding for newer body cameras for all officers. “I feel they have been patient and understanding and seem willing to assist this department in its endeavors. I fully expect them to continue doing the right thing by immediately reinstating this officer and approving reimbursement for his loss of income during this ordeal,” said Carpenter.

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UPDATE (11/13/18) The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana is demanding answers about an incident in which a Winnfield woman suffered serious injuries and reportedly lost sight in her right eye after being tased by a police officer. In an open records request, the organization demanded the Winnfield Police Department turn over all complaints and disciplinary records for the officer involved as well as the Department’s policies and procedures regarding use of force, the deployment of Tasers, de-escalation and racially-biased policing.

“Tanisha White’s grievous injuries demand an immediate and thorough investigation and accountability for the officer involved,” said Alanah Odoms Hebert, executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana, in a statement. “Excessive use of force by police, especially against people of color, is a systemic problem that destroys trust, hinders public safety and devastates Black and brown communities. While marketed as an alternative to the use of deadly force, Tasers can cause serious injury and even death – and should never be used punitively or for the purpose of coercion. Tanisha White and the Winnfield community deserve answers, and a police department that protects the people it serves.”

A copy of the letter and open records request is available HERE.

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ORIGINAL STORY:

(11/7/18) An alleged attack so bad that it  has one family heartbroken and wondering what happened between their sister and police. These pictures tell a painful story.

“It hurts me so bad to see her laying up there like this,” said sister to the victim, Tramika Coleman. 

On Monday night, Coleman indicated that police attacked her sister leaving her with several broken bones, bloodied and badly bruised.

“I couldn’t see, I was screaming, It felt like I was getting electrocuted,” said victim Tanisha White. 

White explained that she was at a friends house when she called Winnfield police for a ride home, something she’s done many times before. She believes a misunderstanding led to her brutal attack. 

“The police officer pulled the taser out and started shooting in my right eye,” she recollected. 

She woke up with injuries so bad, her family says her life will never be the same. White has been in the hospital for three days and she’s just learned what some would consider the worst news possible, that she’ll never see out of her eye again.

“It’s already hard living day to day, I have to stay with my parents you know, so this is just going to make my life even harder,” said White as she reflected.

She’s an army veteran who suffers from PTSD,  anxiety and depression. 

“When I saw her, the first thing that came to mind was Emmett Till because that’s how bad it was,” said her sister as she recounted the moment she laid eyes on White.

White’s family reveals the entire ordeal is too painful to believe, but for White she says losing an eye is a small price to pay for what will now be her life’s purpose.

 “I don’t have any hatred for him. I’m now and forever will be a living testimony,” said White. 

NBC10/FOX 14 has tried to reach Winnfield police several times and they’ve said they’d get back with us but have not yet.

Louisiana state police are investigating the allegations-
 

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