Third former Lake Charles Police officer pleads guilty to excessive force in federal court

Published: Aug. 29, 2019 at 9:06 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - A third former Lake Charles Police Officer has plead guilty to using excessive force in federal court.

Collin Kleckley plead guilty on Tuesday to one misdemeanor count of deprivation of rights under color of law for a pursuit an arrest that happened on July 29, 2017.

The Lake Charles Police Department says Kleckley resigned last Thursday, citing personal reasons, adding he is not eligible for rehire with the department.

The City of Lake Charles states ‘Kleckley was never disciplined during his tenure with the Lake Charles Police Department. One complaint was filed against him which was not sustained’.

According to plea documents, while on patrol Kleckley was involved in a foot pursuit. During the pursuit, the suspect fell to the ground, at which point Kleckley began to hit the suspect ‘in the back with his police issued flashlight', ‘inadvertently’ hitting the suspect in the head once with his flashlight.

The document goes on to say ‘Kleckley acknowledges and agrees that when he used his flashlight to strike’ the suspect, he knew that he struck the suspect ‘more times than necessary to effectuate an arrest and continued to strike him after [the suspect] was no longer actively resisting or posing a threat to himself or the other officers’ amounting to ‘an unreasonable use of force’.

In the citation provided to 7News by the Lake Charles Police Department, no where in the narrative does it explicitly state Kleckley struck the suspect with his department-issued flashlight.

The citation narrative, written by Kleckley, states he and another LCPD officer were dispatched to a location on Highway 171 ‘multiple times, to assist CPSO [Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office] in reference to a disturbance’ where a suspect was ‘in the parking lot and threatening people, armed with a knife’. Kleckley says on both calls the suspect fled the scene before authorities could get there. Both times officers were called out, law enforcement searched the surrounding area according to Kleckley.

On the second call, Kleckley stated a CPSO deputy already on the scene said the suspect ‘ran into the English Bayou’. Kleckley states deputies told him and the other LCPD officer they saw the suspect ‘throw the knife prior to his entering the water. Officers then observed [the suspect] in the English Bayou, taunting and making violent threats towards officers, stating he was going to fight them. Officers spent approximately 30 minutes in attempt to call [the suspect] out of the bayou and once all attempts were failing, officers with the LCPD had multiple calls holding and were forced to leave the situation for CPSO to handle their initial call on their own’.

The narrative continues, stating later that night Kleckley and another LCPD officer saw the suspect again and attempted to stop the suspect. The narrative says the suspect fled on foot, a pursuit ensued and ‘immediately Ofc Kleckley gave [the suspect] multiple verbal advisements to Stop Police prior to deploying his department issued taser, with only 1 lead penetrating causing [the suspect] to continue fleeing police. [The suspect] continued running behind a residence’ as officers continued to follow the suspect.

The narrative states ‘officers pursued [the suspect] over a chain linked fence’ and the pursuit continued until the suspect fell. Kleckley states he ‘immediately attempted to gain control of [the suspect], unsure of his reason for falling and due to [the suspect] possibly still having a knife and his previous actions towards police and the public Ofc. Kleckley advised [the suspect] to place his hands behind his back, applying closed fisted hammer strikes to [the suspect’s] back region. ‘[Another LCPD officer] arrived to aid Ofc. Kieckley [Kleckley], advising [the suspect] to stop resisting multiple times as [the suspect] continued to not place his hands behind his back. [Another LCPD officer] used his department issued taser to drive stun {the suspect} in the middle of his back area, attempting to gain control of [the suspect’s] arms as he continued to pull them away from Ofc. Kieckley [Kleckley], who at which time was attempting to place [the suspect] in handcuffs’.

The narrative continues, saying Kleckley was able to gain control of the suspect’s left arm to place the handcuff on and as he tried to gain control of the right arm, Kleckley again used ‘closed fisted hammer strikes’ on the suspect’s lower back while another LCPD officer tased him one more time, allowing the officers to gain control of the suspect.

The narrative states ‘Officers observed [the suspect] bleeding from the back of his head’ and an ambulance was requested to treat the suspect.

The City of Lake Charles stated ‘no discipline resulted from the pursuit and arrest’ on July 29, 2017 and that ‘the Lake Charles Police Department does not have any body-worn camera or dash camera video from this pursuit and arrest’. On the LCPD Use of Force report from the incident, both body camera video and unit video are checked yes. We have reached out to the City of Lake Charles and LCPD for clarification and have not heard back.

Kleckley’s sentencing is set for December 3.

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