Gannett's The Town Talk (Alexandria) published a story on a poor woman's ordeal with a speed trap that doubles as a municipality in Louisiana. Cop admitted to having no probable cause but wound up throwing her in jail for 25 days even though there were no violations. The newspaper reported:
The case of a woman stopped by a Woodworth police officer has been sent back to a trial court, but only so it can determine how much in court costs the town must pay for what was deemed an unreasonable traffic stop.Read the opinion below. There is MUCH more to this story. The Judge was also the Mayor. They threw her in jail after she proved the charges were bogus and they agreed to drop them. It gets worse. Much worse and yes, the cop still has a job as the Mayor apparently encourages this behavior towards out of town drivers in the town of 300.
The traffic stop evolved into a nightmare as the woman, who had committed no crimes, spent 25 days in jail and quit her job for fear of traveling through the town.
The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal decision issued Wednesday centers around a Jan. 4, 2009, traffic stop before 6 a.m. on Methodist Parkway — a private road — by Woodworth Officer David R. Godwin. He stopped Patricia Parker, who was driving to work at the Methodist Conference Center in her live-in boyfriend's pickup truck with two co-workers.
Godwin had started following Parker on Coulee Crossing Road, according to video footage captured on his dash-cam recorder, and to later testimony from Woodworth Mayor David Butler.
"Parker was driving within the posted speed limit," reads the opinion. "When Parker approached Methodist Parkway she engaged her right turn signal light. As she turned onto Methodist Parkway, Godwin immediately engaged the lights on his police unit signaling Parker to pull over. Godwin admitted Parker had not committed any traffic violation but testified he stopped her vehicle solely because 'he wanted to see who she was' and 'where she was going.'"
When the traffic stop concluded, Godwin had issued four citations to Parker and had the pickup truck towed — all actions that the court called into question in its decision issued on Wednesday... Rest of article.