A St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office detective has filed a formal complaint against the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office and one of its deputies following the arrest of her son and two other Destrehan High School students in early February.
The DHS students and their family members say they were wrongly arrested for resisting arrest by violence while attending the Krewe of Caesar parade on Feb. 2. In the incident, football star and LSU signee Rickey Jefferson and fellow DHS teammates David Sampson and Joe Sharpe were arrested for allegedly striking an undercover officer.
According to an interview in Louisiana Weekly, Sampson’s mother, Roanne Sampson, a detective with the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office, said her son was approached by a plainclothes undercover deputy who did not reveal he was a law enforcement officer and that David tried to get away from him.
Witnesses quoted by the paper said the incident was provoked by David calling his friend a derogatory name and the undercover officer misinterpreting it as being directed towards him at which time the officer told David to approach him. David reportedly ignored the order and kept on walking.
Det. Sampson said the deputy chased her son down, ripping his shirt off in the process, and slammed him over the hood of a car. According to her account it was not until after Jefferson and Sharpe tried to intervene and pull the deputy off of David that he identified himself as a police officer.
Sharpe told the Louisiana Weekly that he thought his friend was being attacked by a stranger for no reason and that is why he and Jefferson tried to get the man off their friend, but after he called out that he was a deputy he and Jefferson quit struggling with the policeman.
According to a police report written by Det. Joshua Collins, the JPSO deputy who chased David down, David allegedly shouted obscenities at him while he was arresting someone in the crowd for a narcotics violation and he tried to arrest him. Collins wrote that David swung at him and the two began fighting in the parade route and then Jefferson and Sharp started to attack him as well.
Collins said that David escaped but that he was able to tackle him after a lengthy chase through the parade route. As he was running, Collins alleged witnesses told him David threw a gun that was never recovered by officers.
Col. John Fortunato, public information officer with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, said he is aware of the complaint filed by Sampson.
"We have a complaint filed by the arrestees. As a matter of fact, they filed the complaint based on the fact that they felt they were not arrested with proper cause," Fortunato said.
He said the JPSO has put their faith in their deputy’s version of the events.
"They were involved with an altercation with a number of law enforcement officers," Fortunato said. "We stand behind the actions of the officers as indicated in the report."
Fortunato further encouraged the families of the students to file a complaint with JPSO Internal Affairs or the Department of Justice if they felt they were treated improperly.
Sampson told Louisiana Weekly that deputies shouted racial slurs at her son after his arrest. She also told the paper that she has alerted civil rights organizations and community leaders about her son’s alleged mistreatment.
David is an honor’s student at Destrehan who was nominated for the school’s student of the year. He is also a member of the National Honor’s Society and received the U.S. Marine Corps Scholar Athlete award. He played safety for the Wildcats last season and received first team all-district honors.
Sampson, Jefferson and Sharpe have all been charged with resisting an officer by violence. They were originally charged with battery on a police officer and interfering with a police investigation.