NEWORLEANS-- Louisiana State Police released dashboard camera video of a traffic stop by troopers of local musician Shamarr Allen.
Allen had previously said he was on his way home around 2 a.m. on July 23 from a gig when troopers pulled him over near the intersection of Caffin Avenue and Chartres Street in the Lower 9th Ward, threatened him with a gun, pulled him out of his car, and took him to the ground, then released him.
(Click the player above to watch the video)
Louisiana State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson defended the incident between Allen and troopers, saying, 'They (troopers) used control tactics designed to manage an individual who was non-compliant and resisting. In my view those tactics were appropriate and measured in application.'
Edmonson said Allen was combative with troopers, while Allen has said he was profiled by police because he is an African American.
'That's just, again, the life of a black guy, that looks like me, dresses like me, talks like me,' Allen said earlier.
Edmonson, however, saw the traffic stop very differently and didn't believe Allen's race played a role.
'[T]he video shows that every control maneuver used by troopers was in response to Allen's behavior and resistance,' Edmonson said. 'Perhaps more unfortunate and disconcerting is the allegation that Allen made to local reporters asserting that he was profiled and treated differently because of his race. The evidence does not support his spurious and inflammatory claim.'
According to Edmonson, troopers were in the area looking for a drug dealer who had escaped from NOPD in the French Quarter and had a set a perimeter at Chartres and Lamanche streets in the Lower 9thWard.
Allen drew the suspicion from state police when he stopped his vehicle in the middle of the block and backed up where troopers were stationed with their lights off in marked police cruisers, Edmonson said, and that 'provided the impetus for making a lawful felony stop with weapons drawn.'
Once stopped by police, Allen was not compliant with troopers, according to state police.
'According to troopers at the scene, and confirmed by video, Allen ignored commands to show his hands. Troopers eventually grabbed Allen's left arm and pulled it out the window while he continued to conceal his right hand from view. Allen was then removed from the vehicle and put on the ground. Once there Allen continued to resist by moving his head and shoulders in an attempt to get up or turn over. The back of his head was restrained by a trooper holding his head down with his hand,' said a statement from State Police.
Allen was not struck, hit or kicked as the musician had claimed, Edmonson said.
Allen had said the trooper put a gun in his face, police pulled him from the car and took him to the ground, scratching his arms and legs. 'One of them is stepping on my face, literally, holding me down, put handcuffs on me,' he said.
Trooper did get physical with Allen, Edmonson said, 'But they did so throughout the encounter in a reasonable manner, and always in response to Allen's resistance.'
'Allen was evasive when questioned by the troopers first saying that he had dropped someone off, then changing his mind and saying that he hadn't done that but rather had just left a 'gig' in the Quarter and was headed home. Allen was questioned as to how he could be on his way home from the Quarter when he had driven past his neighborhood, across the St. Claude Avenue bridge and was 2.2 miles on the opposite side of St. Claude from his address. He changed his story again and noted that he used to live in the neighborhood where he was stopped and was just checking it out.'
Allen was ultimately released by police.
State Police's account of the dashcam video:
00:00 Units turn their attention to the residence at the corner of Lamanche Street and Chartres Street. TFC Borcherding is parked at the location with overhead lights and headlights off and the unit on side of street. Traffic is permitted to pass through the area as Troopers monitor.
(NOTE: The escapee was later found at that location 5641A Chartres Street.)
00:49 Sgt. Piglia and Lt. Gardner arrive on scene and park on Lamanche Street also turning off headlights and parking on the right side of the street. MT Craine drives by house.
01:10 MT Craine and TFC Bush arrive on the scene in an unmarked vehicle on Lamanche and park on the right side of Chartres St with their headlights off.
(NOTE: All of the marked and unmarked units that were parked on Lamanche Street and on Chartres Street DID NOT have their overhead lights or their headlights on. All of the vehicles were parked on the side of the roadway with ALL lights off. At no time was the intersection blocked.)
01:19 Allen's vehicle is observed traveling south on Douglass St.
01:21 Allen's vehicle is blocked from the view of the camera and the vehicle stops.
01:26 Allen's vehicle stops and begins to back-up. While backing, the tires on Allen's vehicle begin to slip on the pebbles on the roadway drawing the Troopers' attention to his vehicle which is now illegally backing down the street. Troopers react to the suspicious conduct.
01:39 TFC Borcherding proceeds after the vehicle in a fully marked LSP vehicle.
02:03 TFC Borcherding activates the overhead lights of his unit.
02:13 Allen's vehicle comes to a stop just past the intersection of Chartres and Caffin Ave.
02:16 Borcherding, believing that Allen might be the escapee or might be transporting the escapee draws his weapon as he approaches the vehicle and instructs Allen to shut off the vehicle and show his hands. Allen protests that 'I am not doing anything' but refuses to show his hands.
02:20 MT Craine pulls up on the right side of Borcherding's unit and exits the vehicle. MT Crain enters the camera view.
02:20 Borcherding approaches the driver-side door continuously instructing Allen to show his hands. Borcherding is able to grab and control Allen's left hand and holds it outside of the vehicle's window.
02:22 TFC Borcherding holsters his weapon to focus on controlling Allen's arm. MT Craine assists Borcherding; approaching with his weapon drawn (also believing the driver was the escapee). MT Craine continuously instructs the driver to show his right hand which remains concealed behind the front passenger seat.
02:26 TFC Bush enters camera view.
02:29 TFC Garner enters camera view.
02:31 TFC Garner attempts to open the right front door of Allen's vehicle which is locked.
02:32 Allen's right hand comes into the view of MT Craine and he holsters his weapon.
02:34 The left front door of Allen's vehicle is opened and Allen is given commands to get on the ground.
02:39 Allen is physically removed from the vehicle and placed on the ground. Allen is able to place his right hand on the ground as he was taken to the ground protecting himself during the takedown.
02:41 TFC Bush takes control of Allen's right arm.
02:45 Allen raises his head and upper torso from the ground despite commands to lie still.
02:46 TFC Borcherding places his hand on Allen's lower neck and upper back to control his upward movement. (At no point does he put his knee in his upper back or on his head.) TFC Lance Bush places his knee on the Allen's lower back to restrain movement while he is being handcuffed. (At no time is Allen struck, hit or kicked by the Troopers.)
02:48 TFC Borcherding kneels next to Allen.
02:49 Lt. Gardner enters view.
02:51 TFC Garner applies handcuffs to Allen.
02:57 Sgt. Piglia enters camera view.
02:58 TFC Borcherding asks Allen, 'Do you have anything in the vehicle?' Allen replies, 'No, you can look.'
03:00 Troopers begin to look inside Allen's vehicle.
03:05 TFC Skinner and Investigator O'Conner arrive on scene.
03:10 TFC Borcherding assists Allen to his feet.
03:15 While being escorted back to the patrol car, Allen attempts to pull away from TFC Borcherding by turning away and stepping in the opposite direction, at which time he is controlled by the Trooper and escorted back to the unit.
03:20 Allen is escorted to the front of the marked unit.
03:28 Allen is directed to sit on the push bumper of the unit. Allen's name and date of birth are obtained verbally.
03:49 Allen is asked where he is going.
03:51 Allen replies 'I am a musician in the Quarter.'
03:54 TFC Borcherding again asks Allen where he is going.
04:02 During questioning Allen is questioned in reference to his actions at which time he states 'I was dropping someone off.' When asked where and whom he dropped off, he changes his statement saying 'I didn't drop anyone off. I was heading home from a gig.'
04:36 When questioned again in reference to his actions, Allen stands up from the push bumper and attempts to walk away at which time TFC Borcherding pulls him back and instructs him not to move again.
04:43 Allen again leans forward and moves his feet.
04:51 Allen is told to sit on the ground to allow his movements to be controlled. The subject complies with moderate resistance.
05:26 Allen is asked where he works several times but was evasive responding and would not name a specific location where he had performed on this night.
05:42 Allen is questioned where he lived, and he states, 'In the lower 9th ward.' When asked where in the 9th ward, he indicates that it was on the other side of St. Claude Avenue. (NOTE: Troopers continue to be suspicious because Allen cannot explain why he was on Douglass Street or why he backed up.) Allen changes his statement again stating that he grew up in the neighborhood and wanted to drive through the area.
Allen later states that the address on his driver's license, 1928 Bartholomew Street in New Orleans is an accurate address. Troopers are aware that this address is not in the lower ninth ward and is approximately 2.2 miles in the opposite direction from where the traffic stop occurred and remain suspicious of his presence in the area.
05:44 Investigator O'Conner speaks to Allen in reference to receiving phone calls from the escapee at which time he states 'No.'
05:59 Allen is asked for consent to look at the contents of his cell phone, Allen willingly gives troopers the pass code.
08:14 Investigator O'Conner gives Allen's second cell phone to TFC Bush. Investigator O'Conner places Allen's cell phone in Allen's vehicle and tells Allen where it is located.
08:19 TFC Bush and Allen speak about the unlock code for this phone and Allen states that code is very difficult to explain and offers to unlock the phone for TFC Bush. Allen unlocks the phone for Trooper Bush.
Allen is again asked about his reason for being in the area, his connection to the escapee, and his actions on this night. Allen makes reference to the Troopers not knowing who he is and they should 'Google' him to learn who he is. Allen makes reference to that while he may look like a thug he is not. Allen says the Troopers are making a big mistake and that he is a cultural ambassador for the US Department of State.
09:55 Sgt. Piglia and Lt. Gardner leave the scene, returning to the Lamanche Street scene.
13:31 TFC Borcherding retrieves Allen's driver's license from the left pocket of Allen's pants and enters the unit to conduct a check of Allen's license status, criminal history and warrant check. No warrants were found, but Allen is found to have been arrested for traffic charges and resisting an officer in St. Bernard Parish in March of 2013.
14:02 The video stops.
Note: After the checks of Allen were completed he was assisted in standing, un-cuffed and given his license. Allen's license information and the license plate on the vehicle are recorded for future reference. Allen was allowed to leave and told that both of his cell phones were in his vehicle. Troopers elect not to cite Allen for any violations as a courtesy and in view of the more important priority of returning to the task of searching for the felon who escaped.