COVINGTON, La. (AP) -- A Covington police sergeant has resigned after pleading guilty to simple battery for choking a man during a traffic stop and leaving him handcuffed for what prosecutors called an inordinate time in the back of a patrol cruiser.

Eric Driscoll, 32, pleaded guilty minutes after he was charged during an unscheduled hearing Tuesday in St. Tammany Parish, The Times-Picayune reported (

He got a suspended six-month sentence, two years of probation, a $500 fine and 30 days of community service, and cannot hold a law enforcement job until his probation is over.

Attorney Raymond Burkart III says Driscoll made a mistake after eight years of good work.

Driscoll also is among officers being investigated for alleged brutality in arrests at a bar fight in the spring, but has not been charged in that case. The nonprofit Metropolitan Crime Commission filed complaints with the police department's internal affairs division and the District Attorney's Office.

That investigation 'continues to move forward,' crime commission vice president Anthony Radosti said Tuesday.

The officers said they used appropriate tactics to subdue two people who resisted arrest.

But Lucas Breazeale and Edward Boudreaux, both 32, and seven witnesses say police grabbed them at random, smashed one of them against the hood of a car, then beat, handcuffed and repeatedly shocked the other with a Taser, even after he promised to cooperate.

Their attorney, Steve Irwin, complained to the crime commission.

The battery charge stems from a June 28 traffic stop of Joshua Kentzel, 36, who was booked with resisting an officer and careless driving, both misdemeanors. The district attorney dismissed those charges in September.

Kentzel said Tuesday that he wanted to tell his story but could not because of potential litigation.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) APTV 12-21-11 1136CST

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