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

COVINGTON, La. -- A pre-disciplinary notice to Lt. James Phillip Beach, issued Friday, details what Covington Police Chief Tim Lentz found wrong with the officer's actions during an incident in November 2012.

That incident, involving a handcuffed shoplifting suspect inside the police station, led to the March 2013 arrest of officers Anthony Adams and Nicholas Harper.

The letter says Beach, the supervisor that night, instructed Harper to use a stun gun instead of pepper spray on the combative suspect, who had bitten Adams while in the holding cell. According to the chief's letter, Beach told the officer to 'light him up.'

Lentz started an investigation into Beach's involvement following his testimony, and video of the incident was shown during Harper's trial in June.

'I just cannot wrap my head around the justification of tazing a man, who's handcuffed behind his back, his pants down by his ankles, inside of a holding cell,' said Lentz.

Beach, who spoke to Eyewitness News by phone, said he filed for retirement after receiving the letter, anticipating being fired.

'I was on the force 21 years without a use of force complaint or any kind of suspension,'he said. 'I just hope when officers are faced with a dangerous situation, they don't get hurt worrying about whether their actions might be politically correct or not. It's a tough enough job.'

Beach is the most recent of several Covington police employees investigated and either fired or who resigned because of it since Lentz has taken over.

Community activists say they're glad to see the no-tolerance attitude.

'Some of these officers and agencies will be encouraged to enforce the laws for everyone,'said Belinda Parker Brown, with Louisiana United International.

The chief said he will continue to make the no tolerance message clear, both inside and out of his department. Harper was convicted of a misdemeanor in the case. The second officer, Adams, has yet to go on trial.

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