Sheriff denies excessive force allegations By David Phelps

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 2, 2006

FERRIDAY &8212; A Concordia Narcotics Task Force arrest Wednesday landed a man on federal probation a new drug charge and left some eyewitnesses alleging excessive force.

Sheriff&8217;s department officials denied any excessive force was used in the incident.

Steve Wilson, 34, 402 Concordia Drive, Ferriday, was booked with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of ecstasy, resisting arrest by flight, failure to yield to blue lights, no insurance, resisting an officer and battery of a police officer.

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Deputy Chris Groh and Sgt. Greg Jackson made the arrest.

According to a Concordia Parish Sheriff&8217;s Department release, Groh saw Wilson driving without a seat belt just before noon Wednesday.

Groh attempted to make a stop, but Wilson sped up and began making &8220;furtive movements within the vehicle,&8221; the release said.

Groh and Jackson followed Wilson until he stopped in the 200 block of Smart Lane. When Groh approached, the statement said, Wilson slammed his door into him and attempted to run.

Groh grabbed Wilson and commanded him to cease resisting, which he would not, the release said. Groh and Jackson used pepper spray and force before they were able to cuff his hands and feet, the release said.

Eyewitnesses DeShawn Milligan and Tywonda Quinn said they were nearby and saw the deputies pull Wilson out of his car, throw him to the ground and beat him even after they had put cuffs on him.

&8220;I can see if he was trying to fight back, but he was cuffed,&8221; Milligan said.

Sheriff Randy Maxwell, in a statement,

&8220;unequivocally denied that excessive force was used in this arrest.&8221;

He said Wilson &8220;absolutely did resist arrest &8230; I have complete confidence in the Concordia Narcotics Task Force officers. They did not use excessive force. They only used enough to get the man placed under arrest.&8221;

CPSO Public Information Officer Kathleen Stevens said she saw Wilson while he was being booked.

&8220;I saw an abrasion on his elbow and I saw the deputy

(Groh) with an abrasion on his elbow,&8221; she said. &8220;If I had walked down there and seen someone with a bloody face, I would have been appalled and upset, but that&8217;s not the case.&8221;

Wilson is on federal probation for a drug distribution conviction. According to deputies, he had $1,323.98 cash in his pocket. Ecstasy tablets were found on him at the time of booking, reports said.