Rogue or Sell-Out?
Another lawsuit, filed in 2006, alleges Wiley Willis arrested Shreveport resident Tomeka Bush and had her car seized as retaliation for a complaint filed against him about the incident involving Freeman. Bush’s lawsuit says she’s related to Atkins and Freeman. The lawsuit states video shot by Willis’ patrol car camera was available to the Police Department for review. Bush said the department investigated but didn’t discipline Willis.
Both lawsuits are pending. The city has denied Willis acted inappropriately in either case.
Willis, a four year veteran, was placed on paid administrative leave Jan. 24, 2008. Willis was fired during a predisciplinary conference with Police Chief Henry Whitehorn. "Officer misconduct will not be tolerated within the city of Shreveport. And all allegations of misconduct will be thoroughly and completely investigated," the police chief said during a news conference. "We will not tolerate violations of departmental policies and procedures." The Shreveport Police Department did not file charges against Willis. Willis is appealing the action.
Bill Flanagan, first assistant U.S. attorney for the Louisiana's Western District has stated federal law on police officers' use of excessive force gives the U.S. attorney and FBI authority to investigate. The Caddo Parish district attorney and the U.S. Justice Department will investigate the case.
Police union President Michael Carter asserts "This investigation is rather unorthodox. We wondered why there was a firing if there is no criminal case. You're not talking about some rogue cop. We ask for people to keep him in their prayers."
Whether this is a case of a rogue cop losing his composure, intimidating and beating the citizenry, or a case of a police chief selling out his officers who were performing their duties with professionalism and competence is a matter that only a few know for certain. What is certain is it is a polarizing incident that often tells more about the viewer than that which is viewed.
Update: A $400,000 settlement has not settled whether Shreveport police officers violated Angela Garbarino's civil rights. More.