Video shows A Shreveport woman’s encounter with the police during a traffic stop in January 2020.
January 16 was, at first, a usual night for Shreveport resident, Tamara, as she returned home from work. At least until she was stopped by Shreveport police officers for a traffic violation that resulted in an interaction in which she was tased and tackled.
Tamara, who requested that her last name not be used in print, spoke with The Times about that night’s events. A copy of the video was also obtained through her attorney, Christopher Hatch.
Tamara was reportedly stopped because her vehicle’s tag lights were out. Before the end of the night, she was charged with improper display of a tag, resisting and flight from an officer.
In the video, the patrol car turns onto a road until it is behind Tamara’s vehicle, which is waiting in line at a stoplight. The light changes and the turn-lane queue begins to move forward. That’s when the patrol unit turns on its red and blue lights.
About 18 to 19 seconds later, the patrol unit’s sirens are turned on. The sirens remain on until her vehicle pulls into the parking lot of Griff’s Hamburgers. From when the patrol unit’s lights were turned on, it was a minute and a half to two minutes before she turned into the parking lot. This time also includes another stoplight intersection, in which she waited at the red light and proceeded after it turned green before turning into the parking lot.
In the video, Tamara’s vehicle is out of the frame, once parked in the lot, with only a slim portion of her vehicle visible on the right edge.
An officer steps out of the vehicle and approaches her car and is seen holding a handgun as he approaches. She is heard asking why he has his gun out and explains that she wasn’t going to stop in a dark area.
It is unclear to The Times what the officer says to Tamara before he tells her, “You’re going to shut your mouth.” The officer is heard saying “driver’s license” soon after and right before her car door is opened.
He tells the officer she’s on the phone with her “old man” (boyfriend) and then tells her boyfriend on the phone that she is being pulled out of her car. Two other officers then appear. Officers are heard telling her to get out of the car as they are pulling her out of the vehicle.
In a brief summary of the events that follow: She appears to be slung against the vehicle, tased, and brought to the ground by two officers, one holding each arm, as they tell her to get onto the ground. She tells the officers to get off her and she is tased again before she is eventually handcuffed. More words are exchanged between Tamara and the officers before she is brought to the patrol car.
During this transaction, she asks the officers multiple times why they are doing this to her. Just prior to the officers leading her to the vehicle is when she is told she was pulled over for having a tag light out and that she was also facing a resisting charge.
The video with audio and copies of police documents are available for viewing on shreveporttimes.com.
“Initially I was confused because I was not aware that there was any problem with my license plate light. For as long as I can remember, I have been told to find a well-lit area to pull into when there is no shoulder on the side of the road,” Tamara told The Times.
All of the above-mentioned charges against Tamara were dismissed in late July.
The Times submitted a public records request seeking information concerning the officers. An attorney, who is being contracted to aid the city with such requests, provided responses to The Times on Sept. 10.
- The officers who were identified as being involved in Tamara’s arrest are Christopher McConnell, Conner Ballard, and Charles Strawn.
- McConnell was hired by SPD in July 2018 and was terminated in May 2020. Ballard was employed by SPD in February 2019 and Strawn in August 2018.
- No officer is on administrative leave as a result of Tamara’s arrest.
- There is an open administrative investigation and “as this is an open criminal investigation, additional information is not public record,” the attorney’s response to the public records request said.
In a separate email, prior to furnishing the responses above, the attorney provided the narratives written by the three officers.
This report continues below the embedded documents. See the written arrest narratives below.
McConnell is also one of eight Shreveport Police Officers who was indicted in June in connection with the excessive use of force on two men who were apprehended on Jan. 24.
McConnell is additionally facing an unrelated simple battery charge in Shreveport City court for an incident that reportedly occurred in the same week but near Interstate 49 and Interstate 20.
MORE: Eight Shreveport police officers indicted on excessive force incident
The victim named on McConnell’s summons for the simple battery charge is a Benton man who was arrested by McConnell on Jan. 25 near Interstate 49 and Interstate 20. The Benton man was charged with careless operation, failure to yield to an emergency vehicle, and resisting an officer. All three charges against the Benton man were later dropped, per court records.
McConnell pleaded not guilty to the simple battery charge in late August. His city case appears to be set for trial on Oct. 30, according to city court minutes.
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