The family of a 14-year-old allegedly assaulted by two School Resource Officers (SRO) filed a lawsuit in federal court last week. The lawsuit names the Town of Brusly, West Baton Rouge Parish School Board, and two former Brusly police officers as defendants.
The lawsuit alleges former Brusly Police Officers Dan Cipriano and Anthony “Kip” Dupre, both 46, violated the student’s Fourth Amendment rights by assaulting, handcuffing and detaining him without probable cause. It also claims the School Resource Officer (SRO) Program, formed by an agreement between the Town of Brusly and West Baton Rouge School Board, failed to provide adequate guidance regarding the use of force against schoolchildren.
Doris Snearl, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of her and her grandson, seeks damages for emotional pain, suffering, humiliation, inconvenience, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Surveillance video leaked to WAFB-TV shows the Oct. 5 incident in the Brusly Middle School office. Throughout most of the footage, Dupre and the student are on the ground and blocked from view by the administration desk. Dupre is seen punching the student then slamming him to the ground before Cipriano enters the office and slams the handcuffed student onto a desk, the lawsuit said.
A grand jury indicted both former officers in December. Dupre, the original responding officer, was indicted on malfeasance in office. Cirpriano was indicted on misdemeanor battery.
Snearl claims that through the lack of guidance, modifications to the use of force policies, and relevant training the defendants “consciously disregarded the risk of obvious physical and emotional harm” to schoolchildren. Snearl alleges Dupre used “pain compliance” on her grandson, a technique used to force dangerous, physically resisting adults into submission. Snearl said an SRO should not have used force in response to “mere verbal provocation.” Using these methods on a teenage student are excessive use of force and police brutality, she continued.
During the 2018 school year, the student was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and specific intervention instructions were provided by Snearl to manage his behavior at school. He was offered extra time to complete tasks and tests, but no additional services nor a behavior plan of action as was requested by Snearl, the lawsuit states.
Snearl accuses Brusly Middle School staff who were in the office at the time of being complicit in the assault.
According to Snearl, her grandson has shown signs of severe trauma following the encounter, requiring physical therapy and emotional counseling. Snearl has also experienced physical and mental pain since the day she saw her grandson “bloodied and bruised” at the police station.
Dupre and Cirpriano’s criminal cases are ongoing. Attorney Kwame Asante represents Snearl and her grandson in the lawsuit filed Friday, which will be presented to Judge John W. DeGravelles.