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City of VP faces another lawsuit for officers performing illegal holds

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By: ELIZABETH
WEST
Managing Editor

The City of Ville Platte is now facing a class action lawsuit this year due to its law enforcement performing illegal investigative holds on individuals.
These holds were deemed illegal back in 2016 by the United States Department of Justice following an investigation into the policies and procedures of both the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Ville Platte Police Department.
In the latest federal lawsuit, which was filed on October 21, 2017, plaintiff Steveniski Frank, Sr., alleges that he was arrested on April 25, 2014 by VPPD and then held on an investigative hold for two and half years.
In the lawsuit it states that “on or about the day on which he (Frank) was arrested, plaintiff was told by a VPPD detective that the detective knew that plaintiff had not committed the crime for which he had been arrested.”
According to the suit, Frank was “nonetheless held for the next two and half years while the City of Ville Platte, through its agent the VPPD, attempted to coerce him into giving false and incriminating statements.”
Frank also alleges that “over two years after he was first detained,” he “was informed by the prosecuting attorney that the prosecution did not believe that the plaintiff had committed the crime with which he had been charged.”
After staying in jail for over two years, Frank’s charges were “‘passed’ for lack of evidence.” However, Frank’s council, Trachelle L. Cornish and Conrad J. Benedetto, say that although the charges were passed, “Frank’s criminal trial was prejudiced by the unreasonable delay, as well as his life and liberty.”
In the suit, it claims that due to this experience, the plaintiff “suffered severe financial and psychological damages” for a “crime which no defendant or other authority believed he had committed.”
According to the lawsuit, the actions of the VPPD also violated the plaintiff’s right to a speedy trial under the sixth amendment of the United States Constitution.
In the suit it states, “Had Mr. Frank been afforded his constitutional right to a speedy trial, his charge would have been dismissed long before the approximate two and a half years.”
For his claims, the plaintiff in this matter, through his attorneys, has requested that he be awarded “general damages in an amount to be determined by proof at trial, appropriate compensatory and punitive damages, attorneys’ fees and costs, and be provided such further relief as may be just and proper and in the interests of justice.”

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