Independence mayor under investigation after disagreement with police officer

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wwltv.com

Posted on August 9, 2012 at 6:18 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 9 at 6:21 PM

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

INDEPENDENCE, La. - The mayor of Independence is under investigation as part of a probe that is also looking into possible wrong-doing by a town police officer.

Sources say the incident occurred Monday in the driveway of Mayor Mike Ragusa's construction business. Multiple people say the mayor's son was pulled over by two Independence Police Officers for speeding. When he saw the stop, Ragusa came out of the business to find out what was going on. Sources say an altercation ensued with one of the officers and someone was hit with the door of the police unit, but who pushed the door, is now under investigation.

"I can tell you I've received a verbal report, someone who is unhappy with one of my officers and the performance of their duties. I've also reviewed a draft of that officer's report and we will see where it leads," said Independence Police Chief Frank Edwards III.

Edwards says he can't share the report, or many details, because of the open investigation. The mayor tells Eyewitness News there was a disagreement Monday, between him and a police officer, but that's all he can say on the advice of his attorney.

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

One thing both the police chief and the mayor will say about the situation is that it's not getting between them or preventing them from doing their jobs.

"There's some word on the street about some big disagreement between the police department and administration and that's just not true," said Edwards.

"The police chief and I get along," said Ragusa, "I don't have any problems with the police department."

Both assure the public no special treatment will be a factor in the case.

Sources say the mayor's son was being given a warning when the situation got out of hand.

There's no time frame on when the investigation will be complete.

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