By on June 4, 2011

Police in Louisiana slammed a 67-year-old man into the ground, arresting him over a questionable traffic violation. The state court of appeals ruled May 11 that Calvin D. Miller’s injuries were only worth $25,000 in compensation. Miller had been driving his big rig logging truck home to Florien on US Highway 171 at 5:30pm on July 13, 2007. As he passed through the Village of Hornbeck, Officers Kenneth Hatchett, Jr., and Andy Mitchell, 19, pulled him over because he began speeding up “about 100 feet” before the limit changed from 45 to 55 MPH. Having driven the road for the past forty-seven years, Miller was quite familiar with the speed limit. He insisted he was not speeding.

“I can see right now you’re going to need an attitude adjustment,” Officer Hatchett said to the five foot, six inch tall elderly man.

Miller punched his own fist, then turned his back on the officers and began walking away. They threw him to the ground, deliberately slamming his head into the concrete so he could be handcuffed tightly. After Miller’s wife bailed him out, Miller went to Byrd Regional Hospital where physicians documented the gash on Miller’s forehead, the swelling and bruises and the injury to his wrist and arms. His missed two weeks of work after the incident.

“You don’t turn your back on a cop,” Officer Hatchett explained.

Both officers denied knowing how Miller’s head came into contact with the concrete road shoulder. Eleventh Judicial District Court Judge Stephen Bruce Beasley did not find their testimony credible.

“Officers Hatchett and Mitchell had the considerable advantage of youth, height, weight and weaponry over Miller,” Beasley ruled. “There was no testimony that Miller, at any time during the altercation, brandished or was perceived to possess a weapon. Although Miller was attempting to leave the scene, the stop did not require taking him into custody.”

Beasley found the officers entirely at fault for Miller’s injuries and awarded him $25,000 in damages. The officers appealed the ruling, insisting they had full immunity from prosecution. A three-judge appellate panel rejected the claim and upheld the judgment in full, declining to adjust the damages up or down.

“The totality of the circumstances support the trial court’s finding that the two young armed officers faced little or no risks from Miller for his crime of ‘speeding’ (assuming it to be true) shortly before he actually reached the fifty-five-mile-per-hour sign,” Judge Shannon J. Gremillion wrote for the appeals court. “There is no error in the finding that the force used was excessive and not motivated by officer safety, but to adjust Miller’s attitude.”

A copy of the decision is available in a 100k PDF file at the source link below.

Source: PDF File Miller v. Village of Hornbeck (Court of Appeals, State of Louisiana, 5/11/2011)


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45 Comments on “Louisiana: Cops Beat Up Old Man For Accelerating Slightly...”

  • avatar

    Hatchett – and I won’t use the term ‘officer’ as it insults the position – is a thug and bully.

    He should lose his job and his benefits and pension and face a civil suit.

    We need to stand up and stand fast against people like this – I won’t use the term ‘policeman’ as it insults the position.

    He needs either a shovel or an apron for a career.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes…I consider myself a solid union man. I don’t like to think of anyone losing thier job.

      However I totally agree 340-4 .

      This dude is a disgrace to police officers everywhere.

    • 0 avatar

      I wonder how many police officers are taught about the Stanford Prison and Milgram experiments. Or courts (unlike this one) whose decisions reinforce the idea that they are above the law and can act out their powertrips with impunity.

      People who act like this when they feel they can get away with it – and furthermore, try to justify it after the fact – are a public menace. A numbered grey suit and a licenseplate puncher would be a more appropriate long-term career. I wouldn’t want them anywhere near my burger [tic].

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      I just wish there were an upstanding citizen who’d have been able to react to what appeared to be an attempted murder in progress, shooting both perps.

  • avatar

    OBEY you idiotic filthy commoner scum.

    Our freedoms require full and total obedience of our masters and their lackeys.

    For the many with so-so reading comprehension skills and/or a lack of my long-held disdain of USA society in general and my general disgust with all USA governments at ALL levels I mutter the term; sarcasm within my post.

    Thank you.

  • avatar

    100 feet? A city bus is 40 feet long, so 100 feet is about twice the length of the logging truck.

    These ‘cops’ were looking for a fight, and they got one. All that is left is for the two of them to lose their jobs.

    • 0 avatar

      They won’t. They never do. Suspended with pay, I bet.

      • 0 avatar

        Yep…that’s our wonderful unions for ya.

        There are a lot of very good, compassionate police officers out there. It enrages me when I read stories like this (despite being completely biased and unbalanced) because it makes all officers…and to a greater extent, anyone in public safety look bad.

  • avatar

    Neither of those losers should be allowed to carry a badge again.

    How they got one is beyond me. Connections, probably.

    Regardless, $25K isn’t enough. $25K plus two badges might be.

  • avatar

    Reminiscent of Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange”.

  • avatar

    The judge found the policemen’s testimony “not credible” – I take that to mean they lied. Therefore it should be a mandatory sacking offense. I hope someone can update us with that news in due course. An absolute disgrace.

  • avatar

    i’ve seen cops shove little kids around and such. lots of cops are just bullies with badges.

    sort of like the scene in harold and kumar go to white castle.

    seeing as the guy was 67 and these guys were 19… they should have a fitting punishment for them to what they did to that guy.

    $25k each they pay out of their own pockets to the 67 year old. AND a gun shot to the knee should be about equivalent to beating up an old man.

    • 0 avatar

      “lots of cops are just bullies with badges.”

      The excessive amount of ignorance you have is showing…………

      • 0 avatar

        No, I think it is YOUR ignorance that is showing.

        He didn’t say MOST cops are bullies, just LOTS are and I am quite sure that is true.

        I personally know 4 cops and 2 of them were absolutely horrible, rough kids, always involved in violent incidents and bullying and they didn’t hide the fact that the chance to engage in “legalised aggro” was very much part of the appeal of joining the police.

        Another of the 4 is much quieter and cerebral but I was shocked when he too once admitted to me that “sticking the boot in” was part of the fun of the job.

        The 4th guy is, as far as I know, more like the saintly kind of cop we all would hope they all are.

        Now, 2 or 3 rough cops out of 4 is hardly statistically valid and I am not trying to imply that 75% of cops are bullies. I am, however, reinforcing the statement that “lots of cops are just bullies…”.

  • avatar
    slow kills

    Wait, this makes it sound as if law enforcement agents are being help personally responsible for their actions. That can’t be right. I must be misunderstanding something.

  • avatar

    The question in my mind is how messed up is that dept to let 2 kids prowl the streets with weapons. Yes everyone has to start somewhere but a 19YO green horn should be riding with a seasoned veteran. Of course it could be a case like the city I used to live in. That force is so messed up there are only guys hanging on until retirement age and kids fresh out of the academy. No one except the old timers stay there for any length of time.

  • avatar

    I don’t disagree with anything anyone has said so far…

    That being said, 67 is elderly?

    • 0 avatar

      Interesting point: Gen-X members tend to see themselves as old; Boomers tend to see themselves as young. Says a lot about the nihilism of the former and the self-delusion of the latter.

      • 0 avatar

        “Elderly” can be a state of mind. I was lucky enough to retire from my non-physically-taxing job when I was 67 in 2007, and I don’t think of myself as elderly. My father at that age was still hanging on in his construction business, and he’s who I thought of when I read the article here.

        I hope that Kenneth Hatchett Jr. and Andy Mitchell get known in every bar in Louisiana as pussies who would beat up an old man for no reason.

  • avatar

    To paraphrase a line from the movie, “Forget it, Jake. It’s Louisiana”.

    Or, put another way, it’s just business as usual for the vast majority of small town police departments across the country, i.e., go after the softest target of opportunity or “easy mover” for a little extra, easy revenue. In this case, it was a small, 67 year old, spectacled man in a slow-moving logging truck.

    The only surprise is that they didn’t take out their nightsticks and wail the hell out of him for “turning his back on a cop”.

  • avatar

    Cops are some of the worst human beings alive, only second to SWAT teams that spend their time shooting dogs, small time pot users, and completely innocent people in their own homes.

    It’s high time for this country to step back and take a look at how law enforcement is conducted. There’s a reason beat cops in Britain aren’t allowed to carry – and its not because they’re a bunch of pansies. They understand what kind of people are drawn to the job.

    • 0 avatar

      “Cops are some of the worst human beings alive, only second to SWAT teams that spend their time shooting dogs, small time pot users, and completely innocent people in their own homes.”

      Seek help.

  • avatar

    I agree to most of what has been said about these two “officers”.
    However, in this case they got caught and in my opinion we should be proud about our countries that this justice happens. This can happen in a minority of the countries in the world. Rotten cops and soldiers are taken to court only in great countries. Did you ever hear that happen in Afghanistan or Iraq before? Anyone heard about cops taken to court in Syria or Iran?

  • avatar

    A paltry sum like that is not the answer. First, we should all recognize that most cops don’t do this. But it happens often enough that most of us can name at least one person that has had such thuggery (even if not quite an egregious example as this) inflicted on them. What would help is if the penalty for such behavior was large enough to take them think twice. For easy to prove cases such as this I’d start with their job, plus a bit of jail time in the state pen. A large settlement for the attacked seems fair, too.

    Scoutedude brings up a good point. What the hell are children doing with weapons, a badge, and a paycheck?

  • avatar

    Lack of training. As state/local government budgets shrink, you’ll probably see more of this; hiring of “rent-a-cops” whose main purpose is to bring in more revenue than it costs to employ them.

  • avatar

    Once a pig, always a pig.

  • avatar

    Florien La is one of those crappy little towns where the only revenue they can count on is from trumped up speeding tickets.

    If you’re on Hwy 49 and need gas try to make it to the next town instead.

  • avatar

    I can hear their chief now: “Guys, guys, guys, no donuts for a week and you’ll need to supervise the community punishment section until this gets sorted out.” Looking back on myself when I was 19, how the hell can they be set free to roam about like loose cannons like that? There’s no maturity or judgement, only power-drunk self-entitlement and ample time to think up mischief. Their supervisor should have been sued, too and had to pay his share of damages to teach him to do his job better. The officers in question should have been terminated, lost their LE certification, and all cases in which they were involved investigated for other instances of lying under oath.

    In the immortal words of my avatar: “You will respect my authoritah!”

  • avatar

    That will teach him to drive in Louisiana.

  • avatar

    Once an ignorant internet poster, always an ignorant internet poster.

    Who are you going to call in you’re time of need? Certainly not some lowly “pig”…right?

    • 0 avatar

      I’d like to see statistics on how quickly police arrive on scene and whether they are able to prevent the violent offense they were called in response to. For example:

      “MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Dane County has settled a lawsuit with the family of a woman who was slain in her Madison apartment.

      A news release from the Bell, Moore & Richter law firm, which represented the county, says the county will contribute $5,000 to a reward fund started to help find 21-year-old Brittany Zimmermann’s killer. It also will pay $2,500 to the family’s lawyer to settle the suit, which alleged the county was negligent in handling a 911 call.

      In April 2008, Zimmermann called 911, presumably for help, but the dispatcher did not send police or call back after being disconnected. He fiance later found her slain.

      The county says settling the suit was “in the public interest.” The family says its goal was to ensure “this did not happen to anyone else.”

      Murdered in her own apartment. And you get a busy signal dialing 911 in LA. :P

    • 0 avatar

      Once an ignorant internet poster, always an ignorant internet poster.

      Oh, the irony! Couldn’t you get a Ford bashing into that post somewhere?

      And no, calling the cops would not be my first instinct. I could put my ready supply of 3″ magnum 00 buckshot into service in a small fraction of the time it would take them to show up.

  • avatar

    The Mexican/Hispanic gang called MS13 is NOT the largest street gang in America…

  • avatar

    Both cops were both 19 years old.

    I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something wrong with that. While there are no doubt some 19 year old good cops, I’m skeptical about any department that can find two AND then (holy crap!) pairs them as partners.

    I know there are fine soldiers and Marines who are 18 and 19. But there’s a profound difference between policing (in our republic) and soldiering overseas. Life experience is a humbling necessity in an officer. Furthermore, military discipline, while at times flawed, is more swift and effective than the civil service.

    And the military is a non-union shop.

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