New demand for Louisiana officer’s resignation after beating details emerge

A video of Kentdrick Ratliff's violent arrest has become public.

A 2017 incident in which officers violently arrested a man is prompting more calls for the resignation of the police chief of Hammond, Louisiana. 

A police procedure expert presented a 158-page report to the Hammond City Council this week where he noted that many of the acts that occurred during the arrest were “egregiously unreasonable and excessive,” according to The Advocate.

In 2020, the city council commissioned Seth Stoughton to perform an independent investigation into the arrest after the full 12-minute video of the attack was published by a local news station, WBRZ in September. 

Video of the violent arrest of Kentdrick Ratliff in Hammond, Louisiana has come to light (

Hammond’s city council has called for police chief Edwin Bergeron to resign or be fired. At the time, Bergeron, who is white, was a sergeant and is seen in the video punching the Black victim, Kentdrick Ratliff, in the face several times. 

As Ratliff was being booked following an arrest for drug possession, he jumped up and tried to grab two pill bottles from the officers’ desk. That is when two officers, later joined by two more, tried to subdue him. 

In Stoughton’s report, he noted that of the 10 acts of force the officers used on Ratliff, all but two were “unreasonable and excessive.” 

“This is among the most abusive uses of force I’ve seen in reviewing…I can’t even tell you how many cases,” he told the council. Stoughton, who is a professor at South Carolina University, was an expert witness in the trial of Derek Chauvin who was convicted of murdering George Floyd in May 2020. 

Despite the compelling video footage, Hammond mayor Pete Panepinto has said that he has no plans to fire Bergeron and the city council does not have the power to fire him. 

Devon Wells, a Black man who is a member of the Hammond City Council said of Stoughton’s findings, “We actually have a real problem here,” he said. “For myself, being a Black male, I’m scared.”

Wells called for the council to call upon outside agencies to review Stoughton’s report and again asked his colleagues to again ask Panepinto to fire Bergeron. The council took up neither resolution, saying that they need more time to review the report. 

“Watching that video, there shouldn’t be much else to see,” Councilman Sam Vittorio said. “Those awful sounds the guy made, it doesn’t get any more clear than that. And then to promote a guy in the administration…it’s very sad to know that.”

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