1553637051319546_139199669670799009_n

Trooper Kasha Domingue from the Louisiana State Police Facebook page

Nineteen months after a shooting behind a southeastern Baton Rouge grocery story, State Police Trooper Kasha Domingue spends her days behind a desk —and Clifton Dilley spends his in physical therapy.

Dilley was a passenger in a car Domingue pulled over behind the Village Grocery store July 10, 2018, allegedly for making an illegal U-turn on Perkins Road. He ran. She shot.

What happens next will be determined in criminal and civil courts. The case has been delayed because prosecutors typically handle officer-involved shootings in the order in which they occur and the Dilley shooting is just now approaching the top of the stack.

According to a federal lawsuit, Domingue initially reported to dispatch that she had fired her stun gun at Dilley, rather than her service weapon, and the mistake slowed the emergency response. Baton Rouge attorney Don Cazayoux, Dilley's lawyer, said the shot fired into Dilley's lower back caused "severe and permanent" injuries, including partial paralysis that requires Dilley to use a walker because he has no feeling below his knees.

“He’s trying,” Cazayoux said. “He’s going to physical therapy. He’s got a good attitude."

Dilley was 19 at the time of the incident.

No one disputes that Domingue stopped the driver of a red Saturn for purportedly breaking a traffic law in the middle of the night. The accounts also agree that Dilley, a passenger in the Saturn, tried to run.

But, while a state police investigator's affidavit says Dilley charged toward Domingue, prompting her to shoot, the lawsuit says Dilley was running away from her when he was shot in the back.

The lawsuit says that in the moments that followed, Domingue handcuffed Dilley, who remained on the ground unable to move his legs. She then arrested the driver of the Saturn before she radioed dispatch with a code that indicates use of a stun gun, according to the complaint.

"Had Trooper Domingue used the appropriate code to indicate she had shot someone, paramedics would have responded accordingly," the lawsuit reads. "Instead, Dilley received less urgent, delayed care."

In three prior instances — within an eight-month span — Domingue fired a stun gun at people she encountered while on duty, all of whom were unarmed, according to use of force documents obtained from State Police. 

Just hours before Dilley's shooting, Domingue had fired her stun gun after pulling over a vehicle without a license plate in Baton Rouge. A passenger also fled the scene and Domingue fired her stun gun at him as he climbed a residential fence on Oak Creek Road, a use of force report says.

In February 2018, Domingue fired her stun gun at another man fleeing a traffic stop in Lafayette. The report notes the man had an "unidentified black item" in his hand, later revealed to be two mobile phones. He first fled in his vehicle then was hit with the stun gun as he tried to climb a fence after a foot chase.

He was struck in the back, the report shows.

And in late December 2017, Domingue fired her stun gun at an intoxicated woman who had gotten into a car crash in Lafayette. The use of force report says the woman tried to run away and then "swung" at Domingue before she was stunned. According to the report, the woman was also struck in the lower back.

In Dilley's case, Domingue filed a use of force report after the shooting, which is quoted in the federal complaint. It states Domingue first drew her stun gun, then her firearm as Dilley charged her while raising an unidentified black object. She says Dilley was struck in the "right side torso."

The Advocate reported in 2018 that Domingue had been wearing a "defective" body camera that did not record the shooting, according to the trooper's attorney at the time. The lawyer also said Domingue also had been driving a new State Police vehicle that was "not properly equipped" with a dashboard camera, a device that typically records all State Police traffic stops. 

However, according to Dilley's lawsuit, the nearby surveillance footage from Village Grocery did not malfunction and provided evidence of the encounter.

"Trooper Domingue’s story of being attacked was completely false," the lawsuit says. "She instead shot a fleeing, unarmed passenger of a car stopped for a minor traffic violation who posed no threat."

Dilley's lawsuit argues that Domingue used excessive force, violating his right to be free from unreasonable seizure. 

"Trooper Domingue’s falsifying her Use of Force Report, including that Dilley attacked her, demonstrates that she knew it was clearly established that it was unconstitutional to shoot a fleeing witness to a minor traffic offense," the lawsuit says.

Domingue's attorney, Allen J. Krouse III, did not provide comment for this story because of the litigation pending in federal and state courts.

The lawsuit also claims the state's negligence contributed to the incident, as state police failed to adequately train and supervise its employees, among other insufficiencies.

A request for comment from Jennie Pellegrin, the state's attorney in this case, went unanswered. 

East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore III said his team has spoken to both parties involved in the shooting and that the decision on whether to press charges against Domingue is still pending. 

“We have not made a decision at this point to proceed one way or the other," Moore said.

He explained that his team processes deputy- and officer-involved shootings in the order in which they occur, and Domingue's case should be one of the next in line for them to take up. Moore added that in some of these incidents his office investigates, the person shot by law enforcement is not always alive to explain their side of the case. But in Dilley's case, he can speak for himself, which provides another perspective to understand the encounter.

Cazayoux, Dilley's lawyer, said he is “very satisfied” with how Moore and state police have investigated the incident. When reached on Friday, attorney John McLindon, who represents Domingue in the pending criminal case, said that as far as he knows the case is still under investigation and could not comment further.

Domingue graduated from the Louisiana State Police training academy in December 2015 and was initially placed with Troop I in Lafayette, according to media reports at the time. She remains assigned to desk duty, 19 months later, as the criminal investigation continues.

State Police could not provide a comment for this story. 

“It would be inappropriate for LSP to comment on pending civil litigation and pending action by the District Attorney’s Office,” said State Police spokesman Trooper Taylor Scrantz.


Email Jacqueline DeRobertis at jderobertis@theadvocate.com