Crime

Cops and prosecutors who framed disabled veteran are in hot water after cellphone video emerges

Douglas Dendinger, a disabled 47 year-old veteran, was supposed to be headed to prison. Washington Parish La. cops and the prosecutors they were colluding with were going to make sure of that.

Douglas Dendinger, a disabled 47 year-old veteran, was supposed to be headed to prison. Washington Parish La. cops and the prosecutors they were colluding with were going to make sure of that.

In August of 2012, Dendinger was paid $50 to serve a court summons on behalf of his nephew against Bogalusa police officer Chad Cassard for a police brutality lawsuit. But 20 minutes after he carried out the task, police officers showed up to his door, arrested him, and threw him in jail on charges of simple battery, obstruction of justice and intimidating a witness.

From WWLTV:

The handoff went smoothly, but Dendinger said the reaction from Cassard, and a group of officers and attorneys clustered around him, turned his life upside down.

“It was like sticking a stick in a bee’s nest.” Dendinger, 47, recalled. “They started cursing me. They threw the summons at me. Right at my face, but it fell short. Vulgarities. I just didn’t know what to think. I was a little shocked.”

Not knowing what to make of the blow-up, a puzzled Dendinger drove home. That’s where things went from bad to worse.

“Within about 20 minutes, there were these bright lights shining through my windows. It was like, ‘Oh my God.’ I mean I knew immediately, a police car.”

“And that’s when the nightmare started,” he said. “I was arrested.”

After Dendinger posted bail, he was hopeful that the truth would prevail and the matter would come to a close. After all, a group of police officers and two prosecutors witnessed the entire exchange.

Supported by two of his prosecutors who were at the scene, [St. Tammany District Attorney Walter Reed] formally charged Dendinger. Both prosecutors, Julie Knight and Leigh Anne Wall, gave statements to the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office implicating Dendinger.

With the bill of information, Dendinger’s attorney Philip Kaplan said he got a bad feeling.

“It wasn’t fun and games,” Kaplan said. “They had a plan. The plan was to really go after him a put him away. That’s scary.”

The case file that was handed to Reed and his office was bolstered by seven witness statements given to Washington Parish deputies, including the two from Reed’s prosecutors.

The plan was clear: Reed planned to frame Dendinger, even if it meant fabricating the incident and using falsified statements.

“We could hear the slap as he hit Cassard’s chest with an envelope of papers…This was done in a manner to threaten and intimidate everyone involved,” Prosecutor Julie Knight said in her statement.

Cassard doubled down on that account, saying Dendinger “slapped” him in the chest.

Washington Parish court attorney Pamela Legendre claimed the alleged slap “made such a noise” that she thought Reed “had been punched.”

What the officers and attorneys did not know was that Dendinger had one critical piece of evidence on his side: grainy cell phone videos shot by his wife and nephew. Dendinger said he thought of recording the scene at the last minute as a way of showing he had completed the task of serving the summons.

In the end, the two videos may have saved Dendinger from decades in prison. From what can be seen on the clips, Dendinger never touches Cassard, who calmly takes the envelope and walks back into the courthouse, handing Wall the envelope.

“He’d still be in a world of trouble if he didn’t have that film,” said David Cressy, a former prosecutor who served under Reed and a friend of Dendinger. “It was him against all of them. They took advantage of that and said all sorts of fictitious things happened. And it didn’t happen. It would still be going like that had they not had the film.”

The video’s existence has launched a federal civil rights lawsuit against Reed, his two prosecutors Wall and Knight, the officers who provided false statements, and Washington Parish Sheriff Randy “Country’ Seal.

The suit seeks unspecified damages for civil rights violations including “false arrest, false imprisonment, fabricated evidence, perjury, and abuse of due process.”

Watch WWLTV’s report on the story in the video below:

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Dave

    March 2, 2015 at 7:16 am

    Unless they are criminally prosecuted nothing much will be accomplished. If the taxpayers or insurance companies pay off in a civil suit there wont really be much of an incentive to change.

  2. Avatar

    Bob Cull

    March 2, 2015 at 10:18 am

    This man is nuts! Why on Earth has he not left this Parish, hell, the state. I have dealt with cops like this and once they have you in their sights they don’t give up.

    I fear for his life staying there! When corrupt cops and D.A.s close ranks they can and do literally get away with murder.

  3. Avatar

    NHirsch

    March 2, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    it that is true as presented then there is a bunch of conspiring bastards. they should all lose their jobs and be disbarred at a minimum. false charges like that from lawyers and officers sworn to protect should have be a criminal felony!

  4. Avatar

    Kevin Jackson

    March 5, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    Agreed, all these criminal liers must be prosecuted.

  5. Avatar

    Kevin Jackson

    March 5, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    They must be arrested and not allowed to leave until their felony ‘providing false statements in a felony case” trials are completed. Further, every criminal case these police and prosecutors have been involved in must be re-opened and re-tried as their past testimonies cannot be relied upon.

  6. Avatar

    Kevin Jackson

    March 5, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    Absolutely, and all the cases these lying cops and prosecutors have been involved in must be retried.

  7. Avatar

    John Ringer

    March 8, 2015 at 11:22 am

    Thank the troops for protecting your freedom!

  8. Avatar

    Jeff M

    March 15, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    Things will not change here because the stepford people of this parish accept this as normal. When I got out of the military the sherrifs dept here would not hire me even though I was more qualified than most of their deputies because I had an integrity problem… I had some!

  9. Avatar

    J4justice

    June 10, 2015 at 4:24 am

    This is a link to a FB discussion on the current St. Tammany District Attorney’s page from this past week. https://www.facebook.com/montgomeryforda/posts/10204535122164775?comment_id=10204541896014117&notif_t=like
    I posted the question on the DA’s page after seeing an unrelated story in the paper last week referring to to one of the ADA’s who was reported to have lied in a sworn statement to the police in the Dendinger case. I was surprised to learn that she had retained her job and asked Warren Montgomery, the current DA, to offer an explanation as to why. His response was to ask me to please “trust” him and his personnel decisions. But as disturbing as that was, what is even more disturbing to me was how many people came out to defend him and some felt the need to attack those of use who were demanding answers of Montgomery. I struggle to understand why so many people feel the need to protect powerful people from hard questions and harsh language. Montgomery has refused to answer the question and there’s nothing we can do about it except disapprove. Oh my! Call out the National Guard.

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