A Gretna man charged with attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer has pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of aggravated assault, stemming from a 2017 officer-involved shooting that spawned a civil rights lawsuit against the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Ryan Jackson, 29, of Gretna, was sentenced to seven years in prison Monday on two counts of aggravated assault of a police officer and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. He also pleaded guilty to possession of Alprazolam and Tramadol, getting five years on each count, though 24th Judicial District Judge Stephen Enright ordered all the terms to be served concurrently.
One of the aggravated assault charges was lowered from attempted first-degree murder, and a charge of obstruction of justice was dropped.
Jackson sued the JPSO last year in federal court, saying the two officers who approached him and Lance Stevens, also of Gretna, as they sat in their car in the parking lot of a Terrytown gas station in April 2017 did not identify themselves as police officers. Jackson said he attempted to drive away when the two officers fired at the car, hitting him four times in the shoulder with an AR-15 rifle.
The JPSO said the officers, George Kister and Derek Adams, feared for their lives when they fired upon the vehicle, which sped off and crashed into a canal at Wright and Cedarwood avenues.
Kister was fired in December 2017 for lying during a polygraph exam stemming from an administrative inquiry into a separate arrest, in which a Hispanic man sued the agency, saying Kister and another officer beat and robbed him of cash he was carrying.
Kister also is named in an excessive-force lawsuit filed by Jermain Neveaux, who is awaiting trial for the killing of Deputy David Michel Jr. in 2016.
In his lawsuit, Jackson said he did not know Stevens was being surveilled by narcotics officers. He said he crashed the car after blacking out from his gunshot wounds, which included a shattered shoulder blade and bullet fragments lodged in his neck and throat.
He said he was in a coma for one of the five weeks he spent in the hospital, and that doctors had to transplant a blood vessel from his leg into his arm to save it from being amputated.
He said he will never be able to regain use of his left arm and hand.
The JPSO said Stevens was seen throwing something that looked like a gun into the canal after climbing out of the window, and a gun was recovered from the water.
Stevens pleaded guilty in 2018 to one count of aggravated assault of a police officer with a firearm and one count of obstruction of justice and was given a five-year suspended sentence. A second count of assaulting an officer was dropped, as were four drug charges.
Action on Jackson’s lawsuit had been stayed pending the outcome of his criminal case.