BOGALUSA, La. — A federal lawsuit alleges Bogalusa Police violated the civil rights of 28-year-old Eric Nelson and lied about his 2021 death while in police custody to cover it up, according to our partners at NOLA.com.
The original Louisiana State Police Report alleges that Nelson was arrested for drug crimes via outstanding warrants by Bogalusa PD after crashing his car into a ditch on Dec. 19, 2021.
Bogalusa PD said after Nelson died that he was wanted for resisting an officer, a traffic violation, and several drug counts.
The lawsuit alleges that an officer drove Nelson to his home in Bogalusa so he could change clothes before going to jail. The lawsuit said Nelson ran into the woods and was eventually found and tased by police.
A surveillance video of the Bogalusa police station reviewed by NOLA.com showed a plain-clothes man walk up to a police SUV and lean into the vehicle pulling Nelson's legs toward the driver's side rear door.
Eventually, Nelson falls limply out of the SUV and his head drops to the concrete. He is dragged by his arms to the entryway and left there for five minutes before an ambulance arrives.
The lawsuit alleges that the officers did nothing to help Nelson for five minutes as he laid in the entryway. Nelson died that night at a hospital in Bogalusa.
The lawsuit also alleges the police gave EMS false information by claiming that Nelson was walking when he collapsed.
EMS records said that medical workers found Nelson in handcuffs on the ground unconscious and gasping for air when they arrived, and that police told paramedics the suspect suffered no trauma upon arrest and collapsed while being walked from the patrol car to jail.
Nelson, according to the lawsuit, should have been taken to a hospital first in line with Bogalusa PD policy.
The lawsuit was filed by Kenyatte Spikes, the mother of Nelson's minor son. It alleges that Nelson suffered brain swelling as well as neck and face injuries and that officers failed to intervene or used excessive force and then attempted to cover it up.
Bogalusa Mayor-Elect Tyrn Troung called on Police Chief Kendall Bullen to resign on Friday.
"Chief Bullen has to go because it’s a necessary step in reunifying our city and ensuring this does not happen again," Truong said in a statement. "My administration will do what is necessary to ensure all involved are held accountable for any wrongdoing."