Deputy on leave after abuse arrest _lowres

Stephen Louis

A Pointe Coupee Sheriff’s deputy was suspended Tuesday after he was arrested the night before for allegedly choking his wife during an argument.

Stephen Louis, 32, 607 Railroad Ave., was booked Monday night into the Pointe Coupee Parish Jail on a count of second-degree battery by domestic violence after his wife filed a complaint against him with the New Roads Police Department.

Chief Kevin McDonald said Tuesday his officers were called to the couple’s house around 11:15 p.m. Monday.

“The officers said she had some red markings around her neck,” McDonald said.

The couple had been shouting at one another when Louis started choking his wife. Louis, who had just gotten off duty from work, was still in uniform, McDonald said.

The chief said it wasn’t the first time officers had to respond to a domestic disturbance involving the couple, but he declined to release more details.

Louis, a deputy with the Pointe Coupee Sheriff’s Office for approximately a year, was placed on administrative leave without pay pending a review of city police investigation, Sheriff Bud Torres said Tuesday morning.

“As a police officer you are supposed to be a peace officer and you should practice that at home, too,” Torres said. “It’s an unfortunate issue. But it’s something we won’t tolerate.”

Judy Benitez, executive director of the Iris Domestic Violence Center in Baton Rouge, which offers shelter and services to abused women in nine parishes, including Pointe Coupee, said domestic abuse is not more common among law enforcement officers.

“It does seem like this type of incident is occurring more and more with cops but that’s because when it does, it tends to make the news,” Benitez said. “I’m not aware of any statistics that claim this happens any more frequently than it does with any other profession. It’s just something we tend to hear about because its the opposite of what we think would happen (with a law enforcement officer).”

Louis makes the fourth deputy this year Torres has suspended.

The sheriff suspended three deputies in April because they did not follow proper protocol when they responded to a single-vehicle crash involving a New Roads police officer.

The Louisiana State Police had launched a probe into the incident after witnesses complained the deputies didn’t ticket or arrest the police officer who was suspected of driving under the influence at the time of the crash.