Dec 13, 2013 7:55 PM by Allison Bourne-Vanneck
An Acadia Parish woman is accusing the Crowley Police Department of wrongful arrest and violating her first amendment rights. On December 1st, 44-year-old Theresa Richard went to Crowley Police to deliver information to the Chief of Police and was filming while she was there. She says the problem started when she was asked to turn her camera off.
"I've been video-taping every encounter I have with Crowley Police Department ever since filing a lawsuit with them about a year and a half ago," Theresa Gibson said. "So it had never been a problem before for me to be recording," she said.
Richard says she has a constitutional right to film public officials on duty in a public place, like the police station's lobby. She says she went back and forth with the officer, discussing the filming, and was then asked to leave.
"Before I knew it they were arresting me and hauling me off. They ripped my camera off my neck," Richard said.
Crowley Police says that Richard was not asked to turn off her camera and wasn't arrested for filming. According to the incident report, Richard was arrested for refusing to leave when she was asked by an officer to do so.
"What we do believe is that video cameras should stop at the door. You have cameras in here they can be subpoenaed and be requested from that aspect," Chief of Police for the Crowley Police Department, K.P Gibson said.
Richard has pending lawsuit against Crowley Police following the death of her daughter Marie McDonald and her grand-daughter Bayleigh, who were both killed in a house fire last year. According to the suit, several family members were arrested after they tried to remove property from the home after the investigators left.