Ex-Tulane student sues NOPD

A former Tulane University football standout arrested last fall for his alleged roles in an armed robbery and an apartment burglary filed a federal lawsuit this week against the New Orleans Police Department, saying the burglary arrest was built on information police knew was false.

Trent Mackey, 23, was a highly touted linebacker poised to begin his senior year when he was arrested in August for allegedly orchestrating the stick-up a month earlier of a friend and fellow Tulane student who moonlighted as a marijuana dealer. In September, Mackey was arrested again — this time for allegedly stealing a cellphone and wristwatches in May from the apartment of another Tulane student, who had contacted police after seeing the football player’s photograph on a website following his robbery arrest.

Prosecutors ended up throwing out the burglary charges, but the former football player is scheduled to go to trial for armed robbery next month. Mackey was suspended from Tulane’s squad, although his federal lawsuit noted he graduated this spring.

Mackey has asserted he is innocent of the armed robbery charge. A co-defendant, Robert Murray, was convicted earlier this month in the robbery, though he testified that he did not participate in the home invasion on Broadway Street. Police assert the two men, along with another defendant, conspired to rob the woman, who apparently sold pot out of her apartment.

The federal lawsuit is focused on Mackey’s second arrest, when he was booked with breaking into a former Tulane student’s apartment in May while the man napped in his bedroom. The student woke up to find a man in his room, who immediately fled. He then discovered that his phone and watches were missing.

That man contacted the police after seeing that Mackey had been arrested for armed robbery. Although the victim was never sure that Mackey was the burglar, NOPD Detective Francis Jarrot obtained an arrest warrant by saying the man had positively identified the football player, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit contends that Jarrot violated Mackey’s constitutional rights by preparing a false arrest affidavit.