Former Mamou, Louisiana Police Chief Sentenced, Second Former Police Chief Pleads Guilty to Firing Taser at Non-Combative Prisoners
WASHINGTON—The Justice Department announced today that the former Mamou, Louisiana, Police Chief Gregory W. Dupuis was sentenced to one year and one day in prison, and former Mamou Police Officer and Chief Robert McGee pleaded guilty to one count of the deprivation of rights under color of law, both for their roles in a series of incidents in which they deployed TASERs on non-resistant inmates at the Mamou Jail. Dupuis’s and McGee’s guilty pleas are the result of a federal investigation into the illegal use of excessive force upon inmates at the Mamou jail.
Dupuis, 57, of Mamou, pleaded guilty to one count of violation of an individual’s civil rights on Apr. 13, 2015, and was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Richard T. Haik of the Western District of Louisiana.
According to evidence presented at Dupuis’s plea hearing, Dupuis served as police chief from 1994 to 1997 and from 2004 to 2014. During his tenure as chief, officers, including McGee, repeatedly administered TASER shocks as a form of punishment on inmates who were being disruptive, even if the inmates’ disruption was purely verbal, and on inmates who were calm and compliant when the officer deployed the TASER. On Apr. 25, 2010, Dupuis went to the department’s jail to deal with a verbally disruptive detainee. Dupuis ordered the detainee to get down from his bunk and put his hands on the far wall. The detainee complied. Dupuis then entered the cell and deployed the TASER on the detainee’s back, causing the detainee to fall to the ground, suffer pain and injure his knee. At his plea hearing, Dupuis admitted that he knew at the time that his actions were unlawful.
McGee, 44, of Mamou, pleaded guilty today to one count of violation of an individual’s civil rights committed as an officer in 2010, prior to his 2014 election as chief of the Mamou Police Department. According to McGee’s guilty plea, McGee was called to the Mamou Police Department on multiple occasions in 2010 and 2011 to deal with disruptive inmates. On Aug. 6, 2010, McGee and an inmate were engaged in a conversation. Although the inmate posed no threat to himself or the officers, McGee fired the TASER at the inmate, causing the inmate to fall and experience pain. McGee, who was elected Mamou police chief after this incident, resigned his position as chief on Oct. 8, 2015, as a result of the federal investigation. McGee faces up to 10 years in prison, three years’ supervised release and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing date was not set.
“The defendants abused the trust given to them as law enforcement officers when they engaged in a pattern of repeatedly tasing compliant detainees,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will vigorously prosecute those who violate the civil rights laws to ensure that the rights of all individuals, including those in custody, are protected.”
“Law enforcement officers have a duty to ensure that detainees are treated fairly and humanely when taken into custody,” said U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley of the Western District of Louisiana. “Mr. Dupuis and Mr. McGee breached that trust and violated their oaths by using excessive force on incarcerated individuals.”
The FBI and the Louisiana State Police conducted the investigation. Trial Attorneys Stephen Curran and Sanjay Patel of the Civil Rights Division, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Myers P. Namie and Robert Abendroth of the Western District of Louisiana are prosecuting the case.