A federal judge on Monday sentenced former Iberia Parish Deputy Cody Laperouse to one day in jail and one year of supervised release for a 2013 misdemeanor assault on a handcuffed man that was videotaped and posted on YouTube.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Patrick Hanna also ordered Laperouse, 29, to pay a $2,000 fine, perform 200 hours of community service and attend anger management classes.
Laperouse pleaded guilty in March to one misdemeanor count of depriving a man of his civil rights by using excessive force.
Hanna said Laperouse will be placed in a location monitoring program and can leave his house only for work, court-ordered events and to attend church.
Laperouse, who now is a patrolman for the St. Martinville Police Department, had faced a maximum of one year in federal prison.
Hannah said the sentence he gave Laperouse is appropriate for someone who has remained employed and had never been in criminal trouble before Sept. 29, 2013. Early that morning, Laperouse and other deputies in New Iberia tried to disperse a crowd on Hopkins Street that had gathered for a street party during the Sugar Cane Festival.
Laperouse struck Christopher Butler, whose hands were cuffed behind his back. The assault was witnessed by other festival revelers, one of whom recorded the incident on a cellphone and later posted the video on YouTube.
Butler claims in a federal lawsuit against the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office that he was only trying to ask deputies during the Sugar Cane Festival why they had arrested his brother-in-law.
After an internal Sheriff’s Office investigation, which followed the YouTube video, Sheriff Louis Ackal fired Laperouse.
The Sheriff’s Office did not return a message Monday seeking comment on Laperouse’s sentence.
During Monday’s sentencing hearing, Laperouse told Hanna that he’s ready to put that chapter of his life behind him.
“It’s been a journey since the incident. … It’s just been a long ride,” Laperouse said.
Laperouse’s attorney, Richard Spears, told Hanna that his client has suffered mental anguish since the September 2013 incident.
“He’s also been humiliated,” Spears said. “He’s been dragged through the newspapers.”
Butler’s federal lawsuit is but one of several ongoing complaints filed against the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Ackal that allege police misconduct and excessive force.
In 16th Judicial District Court in New Iberia, a class-action lawsuit is ongoing. It stems from a Hopkins Street incident at the 2006 Sugar Cane Festival where tear gas was employed to break up a crowd deemed unruly.
In fall 2014, the U.S. Justice Department announced it had begun an investigation into the death of Victor White III.
White, 22, died last year from a single gunshot wound to the front side of his chest. White had been arrested and searched before he was placed in the rear seat of a Sheriff’s Office patrol car, his hands cuffed behind his back. The Iberia Parish Coroner’s Office ruled the death a suicide.
In March, the mother of White’s child filed a federal wrongful-death suit against the Sheriff’s Office.
All the suits remain open.