Sunday, January 22nd 2017, 1:23 am EDT, Sunday, January 22nd 2017, 3:49 am EDT
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) – A Shreveport police corporal is appealing his firing over a controversial 2016 arrest.
Kendrick Veals was terminated by Shreveport Police Chief Alan Crump on January 12 for “violation of departmental policies,” but KSLA News 12 has confirmed that Veals’ firing is connected to an arrest made in the early morning of July 4, 2016, outside of Sams Town Casino in downtown Shreveport.
After a public records request with the city of Shreveport, KSLA obtained body camera, dash cam and in-car video from Shreveport police. The audio and video details the arrest of 50-year-old Paul Vincent Craig. Sams Town Casino security contacted police after Craig allegedly refused to leave the property.
“During the initial investigation when they first had him handcuffed, they did an excellent job of talking to him,” says retired Shreveport Police Chief Jim Roberts. He agreed to review the police videos and offer his expertise on the use of force and procedure.
“They did an excellent job of getting him into the car,” Roberts adds.
Corporal Erik Alvarez and Corporal Veals responded, questioned, cuffed and identified that Craig had a warrant in addition to potential charges of remaining at the casino after being asked to leave. Shortly after Craig was placed in the back of Alvarez and Veals’ police car, Craig’s slurred speech and aggressive tone with officers quickly turned verbally abusive. Craig repeatedly directed profanity including racial slurs at Veals. When Craig spit multiple times in the direction of the front seat, Veals can be seen on video opening the door of the patrol car and kicking Craig. At least two of his kicks made contact with Craig’s head.
During the internal police investigation approximately two months later, Veals told the investigator he was attempting to push Veals to the driver’s side of the backseat behind the plexiglass to prevent Craig from spitting on them. He reported that his foot slipped, striking Craig in the head. However on Veals’ initial report made the same day as Craig’s arrest, he made no mention of striking Veals.
On the video, Craig continues spitting and Veals once again is seen opening a police cruiser back door, this time pepper-spraying Craig directly in the face.
“A little poor judgment, moving the arrested person from one side of the car to the other,” offers Roberts.
He adds an easier solution would have been to place a spit guard over the suspect’s head. The retired chief was under the impression spit guards are readily available to officers.
“If they had spit masks, they shouldn’t have to mace them.”
When asked if he saw anything in the videos leading him to believe an officer should be fired, Roberts response, “It depends on their history.”
It’s unknown if Veals has any other departmental violations in his personnel file.
Craig initially agreed to be interviewed about the night in question but failed to show for a pre-arranged meeting to view and discuss the police videos. Two days later, it was discovered Craig approached the City of Shreveport about a possible settlement. He was paid $3,000 and agreed to not further discuss any details with the media.
Calls made to Veals’ attorney were not returned.