SORRENTO — The Town Council dismissed a police officer after learning he violated Police Department procedures by shocking a student with a stun gun at Louisiana Technical College’s Ascension campus.
The 2009 incident was videotaped. The campus later merged with River Parishes Community College.
Cory R. Prine, the police officer involved in the incident, told the Town Council on Thursday that he was at the school’s technical campus in Sorrento in 2009 when an 18-year-old student asked him what the Taser was like.
Taser stun guns are widely used by law enforcement authorities. The gun fires wires with prongs that deliver an electrical charge, immobilizing the person.
After he received consent from the student and the student’s instructor, Prine said, he stunned the man with “a one-second drive stun in the back.”
According to Police Department procedure, a police officer is allowed to use a stun gun only as a means of defense, Sorrento Police Chief Earl Theriot said.
Prine had sought to resign after Theriot had placed him on a weeklong suspension on June 23, but Councilmen Milton “Needlenose” Vicknair, John Wright, Marvin Martin and Mayor Pro Tem Randy Anny voted to fire Prine during Thursday’s Town Council meeting.
Anny also reprimanded Prine, adding Prine had been properly trained to use a stun gun.
“It’s not something to play with,” Anny said.
“That can hurt, maim or kill someone.”
Councilman Chad Day and Mayor Wilson Longanecker Jr. were absent.
Theriot said he learned of the 2009 incident when he received an anonymous email with an attached cellphone video of the incident from a “concerned parent” slightly more than a month ago.
That video attachment is now somehow missing from the email, Theriot said.
Prine, who had served on the Police Department since February 2009, said he was promised a paid suspension period by Theriot, but was given only one day of paid suspension.
In a letter to the Town Council, Prine demanded payment of all hours owed to him, including 84 hours of vacation pay plus 40 hours of sick leave.
Prine also said he wanted reimbursement of about $2,000 worth of equipment he installed in his and other police vehicles.
Prine paid for the items, had them shipped to his home address and then billed the town government, town officials said.
The town did not pay the bills, Town Clerk Fern Barnett said.
Martin asked why the items were not shipped to the Police Department, Theriot said it was because Prine did some of the work at his home.
After Prine was fired, the Town Council went into executive session to discuss a personnel matter.
Afterward, Anny said there would be unpaid suspensions handed out to several employees on Friday.
While Anny would not elaborate on the reasons for the suspensions other than to say that several of the town’s policies had been broken, he promised an investigation into the details uncovered by Prine’s termination, including Prine’s personal payment for town police vehicle goods.
Editor’s note: This story was modified Aug. 10, 2012, to indicate the incident took place at Louisiana Technical College’s Ascension campus.