State Police targeted in new excessive force suit by blackjack dealer Anthony Monroe

A blackjack dealer from Shreveport claims Louisiana State Police troopers abused and injured him during a traffic stop two years ago outside a Bossier City casino, in the latest civil rights lawsuit to target the embattled state agency over alleged excessive force against Black motorists.

Anthony Monroe, 58, claims troopers beat him without provocation and forced him prone against the ground as he shouted, “I can’t breathe!” He claims he suffered a heart attack on the trip to jail, along with broken wrists and other injuries from the arrest, much of it captured on the troopers’ body-worn and dashboard cameras.

Monroe’s federal lawsuit adds to a stack of pending allegations of excessive force by members of the state’s premier law enforcement agency, now mired in scandal amid a series of federal investigations into allegedly racist abuses.

A decision on charges against troopers could come within weeks from a probe into the brutal May 2019 arrest that left 49-year-old Ronald Greene pleading for air and mercy on a Union Parish roadway before he died.

The allegations in Greene’s case and several others have targeted members of Troop F, the overwhelmingly White group that patrols a dozen northeast Louisiana parishes. Monroe’s claims focus on troopers further west, where Troop G patrols.

According to the lawsuit, the veteran blackjack dealer ended his shift at the El Dorado Casino in Shreveport in the wee hours of Nov. 29, 2019 and steered his truck onto Interstate 20, headed to get food.

Trooper Richard Matthews followed him onto the ramp and trailed Monroe as he exited and curved under the interstate.

It was a little after 4 a.m., and Monroe “had heard of police violence occurring in the area, and he was afraid of what might happen to him in the dark with no witnesses,” his suit states. He didn’t stop right away when Matthews flipped on his police lights, out of fear of “being another victim in the news,” according to the lawsuit.

Monroe instead drove on, to the front entrance of the nearby Boomtown Casino in Bossier City, where he alleges his fears soon came true. Matthews walked up and ordered him out of the truck. Monroe was “terrified about what might happen to him.” He ignored the command, remaining inside to call his mother.

In video from Matthews’ body cam, Monroe asked the trooper through his window why he was stopped. Matthews responded that he’d clocked Monroe doing 45 mph in a 25 mph zone and told him to step out of the car. Monroe denied it and kept his door shut before he finally emerged.

Monroe refused to turn around on Matthews’ order to be handcuffed, saying he’d never been forced to do so.

“I ain’t broke no law. I’m not no criminal, and I just left my job. No, what you’re doing is wrong,” Monroe told the trooper.

“OK, that’s your opinion,” Matthews responded before he began to shout for Monroe to turn around.

The trooper’s body cam cut out, but dash-cam video shows the two men begin to scuffle. Monroe claims that Matthews intentionally pulled his hands towards the trooper’s throat, to make it look like a fight.
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