Use of force justified in SU incident, constable says

Baton Rouge City Constable Reginald Brown said Friday his office has found no wrongdoing on the part of a deputy constable who forcefully subdued a student last week during registration at Southern University.

The arrest had stirred controversy after WBRZ-TV aired an amateur video that raised questions about whether Deputy Anthony Collins reacted with excessive force when he took the student to the ground.

After reviewing the case, Brown said the deputy’s actions were in keeping with the agency’s use of force policy.

“We found that he was not guilty of any unnecessary force or anything of that nature,” Brown said at a news conference. “The deputy was acting just as he was taught in the official subduing of an individual ... It was what we would consider putting a person down so that you could handcuff him.”

The run-in happened at 6 p.m. Aug. 16 after Taikian L. Brooks, 25, entered Seymour Gym and told Collins he had received a letter that allowed him to see a financial aid counselor without waiting in the long line.

Brooks did not have the letter, according to an incident report, but he was allowed to return to the counselor’s line, which had no wait or sign-in list.

About 30 minutes later, the deputy constable noticed that Brooks had switched lines, the report says.

The student later switched lines again, the report says, moving this time into a line with a wait of more than 300 students.

“He kept advising me that the previous counselor told him he needed to be in that line and he had a letter stating he could proceed ahead of everyone,” Collins wrote in his report.

Collins offered Brooks two choices: He could sit in the bleachers and wait among the other students or leave the building. When Brooks refused to get out of line, the report says, he was told to the leave.

“As I reached for his arm to escort him out of the building, the suspect then jerked his arm away from me,” Collins wrote in the report, adding Brooks resisted and tried to spin away when Collins grabbed his arm. “I attempted to utilize the straight arm take down but the subject was resisting.”

Brooks was issued a summons for resisting an officer and remaining after forbidden.