The Louisiana State Police (LSP) provides foot patrols in the French Quarter through an agreement with the City of New Orleans. But LSP does not consider itself bound by the terms of the consent decree in the U.S. Department of Justice’s lawsuit against the New Orleans Police Department. The MacArthur Justice Center is litigating a civil rights lawsuit against four Louisiana State Police Troopers for the illegal stop, detention and arrest of an 18 year old Black tourist on a study trip to New Orleans with his father’s architecture students. Lyle Dotson was an 18-year-old Muncie, Indiana, high school student on a tour of cultural, architectural and historical sites in the Southern United States last October. Lyle was separated from his group for a few minutes. While using his cell phone to ask his father for help finding the group, three State Police officers grabbed him from behind, frisked him, refused to give their correct badge numbers and names, and threatened to arrest him if he refused to allow them to take his photograph. He subsequently was arrested for battery of a police officer – a charge later dropped – and incarcerated in Orleans Parish Prison for two nights.
The case went to trial in January 2018. The District Court has ordered a new trial on all claims against all four defendants after finding that Lyle Dotson proved purposeful racial discrimination in the jury selection process.
U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan ruled that attorneys for the Louisiana State Police rejected a Black potential juror for racial reasons.