A Baton Rouge woman accused of threatening car passengers with a gun for driving down her flooded street last summer did not point the gun at anyone and only retrieved it from her home after hearing someone in the car say they had a gun, her attorney said Tuesday.
Video of Bridgette Digerolamo confronting two people who were driving on the flooded street in front of her house went viral on social media last summer. She was later fired from her job as a physical education teacher at Broadmoor Elementary school and faces both criminal charges and a civil lawsuit.
Franz Borghardt, her lawyer, said Tuesday that he recently gave prosecutors a different video that shows a different side of the story.
"You can clearly hear one of the individuals in the car say we have a gun too," Borghardt said after a brief status hearing in the criminal case. "Our position from the beginning is Bridgette was acting in self-defense."
Prosecutors charged Digerolamo, 39, last September with three felony counts of aggravated assault with a firearm stemming from the July 6, 2020, incident in front of her Chattanooga Drive home in the Shenandoah Estates subdivision. She has pleaded not guilty.
A former Baton Rouge teacher accused of threatening car passengers with a gun for driving down her flooded street this past summer has pleaded…
The occupants of the car also are seeking damages from Digerolamo in a lawsuit filed two months ago in the 19th Judicial District Court.
The lawsuit alleges Digerolamo, armed with a metal baseball bat, approached the victims' car "in a violent and aggressive manner, making profanity-laced demands to turn their vehicle around and drive in the opposite direction."
She struck the car twice with the bat, caving in the driver's side mirror, the lawsuit states. When one of the occupants got out to inspect the damage, Digerolamo retrieved a handgun from her home, "aiming at all three" of the car's occupants, including a minor, the lawsuit says.
One of the adults videoed the incident, according to the lawsuit.
Borghardt did not dispute that Digerolamo struck the car with the bat but said the gun was not aimed at anyone.
"She never pointed the firearm," he said outside state District Judge Eboni Johnson-Rose's courtroom.
Arrest records say Digerolamo pointed a gun at the car's occupants. Borghardt said police reports say nothing about the occupants possibly having a gun.
Borghardt said the video from social media that he turned over to prosecutors appears to capture more of the incident than the earlier video that went viral.
Digerolamo's next court date in the criminal case is Jan. 13.
The civil lawsuit filed July 1 claims that Digerolamo "inexplicably targeted and profiled" the Black car occupants while allowing other vehicles to travel unimpeded beyond her property without consequence.
Digerolamo and the plaintiffs both lived in Shenandoah Estates, the lawsuit says. It adds that the plaintiffs have experienced frequent episodes and symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder since the incident.
Digerolamo was a physical education teacher at Broadmoor Elementary School at the time of the incident but was fired three weeks later. She remains free on bond.
The Baton Rouge woman arrested earlier this month after allegedly threatening a driver traveling on her flooded street — striking the vehicle …
Each aggravated assault with a firearm count is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.