Independence mayor surrenders to police

Print
Email
|

wwltv.com

Posted on September 27, 2012 at 6:16 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 28 at 6:42 AM

Ashley Rodrigue / Eyewitness News
Email: arodrigue@wwltv.com | Twitter: @ashleyrwwl

INDEPENDENCE, La. -- The mayor of Independence has been arrested and released following an altercation with a police officer.

The arrest comes on the heels of an August 4 Investigates report.

The police chief of Independence says the charges are battery of an officer, resisting an officer and public intimidation, which is a felony.

When Eyewitness News told Independence Mayor Mike Ragusa that the police chief said he had been arrested, Ragusa had one thing to say:

"The police chief is full of bull."

That's Ragusa's story Thursday night after an incident report obtained by Eyewitness News through a public records request led to three warrants for his arrest.

Independence Police Chief Frank Edwards said those warrants were executed Thursday afternoon.

"I don't feel like we have any kind of problem,” Ragusa said on Aug. 6. “I didn't do anything wrong with what happened Monday."

That was Ragusa days after the incident, which we reported started out as a traffic stop on his son that ended up in Ragusa's business driveway.

Sources originally told Eyewitness News the mayor came out of the business to see what was happening, and an altercation ensued with Officer Jeanine Cruz.

Those same allegations are laid out in Cruz's report, including that the mayor cursed her out, forcefully slammed the police unit door on her and threatened her job.

The police chief did not want to comment on this story, other than to say he did the investigation like he said he would, and it culminated in the arrest Thursday night on the three charges.

The case now goes to the district attorney's office.

The district attorney says he will review the case, but will also consider recusing his office from prosecution.

The mayor was released before a scheduled special meeting of the Board of Aldermen Thursday, where he was in attendance.

The Tangipahoa Parish jail refused to release the bond information by news time.

Print
Email
|