Teacher escorted out of school board meeting files lawsuit almost one year after arrest
Deyshia Hargrave sues Hilts, Vermilion Parish School Board
Deyshia Hargrave, the teacher who was arrested and escorted out of a school board meeting, has filed a lawsuit against the school board and Marshal Officer Reggie Hilts.
The Rene Rost Middle School teacher filed the lawsuit on Jan. 4 in the Vermilion Parish courthouse. It was recorded almost a year to the date of the school board meeting.
During questioning Superintendent Jerome Puyau about his pay raise from his contract extension, Sgt. Hilts removed her from the meeting and eventually put her in handcuffs in the hall outside the meeting room. She was escorted out of the building in handcuffs by Sgt. Hilts.
The lawsuit states that Sgt. Hilts had never read the Louisiana Open Meetings Law concerning the manner in which meetings are to be conducted.
The lawsuit explained in detail what was taking place as Hargrave spoke.
In the lawsuit, it states, “Before she could finish making her comments, Mr. Fontana leaned back in his chair and looked at Sgt. Hilts which prompted Sgt Hilts to approach Ms. Hargrave. After being prompted by Mr. Fontana, Sgt Hilts removed Ms. Hargrave from the Special Meeting #5.”
A video shows Sgt. Hilts escorting Hargrave out of the meeting room and into the hall. The lawsuit also states, “She was forced to the floor by Sgt. Hilts. After forcing Ms. Hargrave to the floor, Sgt Hilts put his knee in Ms. Hargrave’s back and placed her in handcuffs.”
She was put into an Abbeville Police car and taken to the police department where she was booked for the alleged violation of “the entry on remaining in places or on land after being forbidden.”
The lawsuit said she spent time in jail and posted bond for her release. Abbeville City Attorney Ike Funderburk said he would not pursue the charges for which Sgt. Hilts arrested Hargrave.
The lawsuit said what Sgt. Hilts did was, “criminal, malicious, intentional, willful, outrageous, reckless, and/or flagrant misconduct.”
The lawsuit continued by saying “Sgt Hilts deprived Ms. Hargrave of her Louisiana Constitutional and statutory right to directly participate in the special meeting.”
The lawsuit blames the school board for hiring Sgt. Hilts and not training him, and the lawsuit states that Sgt. Hilts “posed a threat of injury to members of the public.”
Also, the lawsuit claims that Hargrave’s arrest and detention was “unlawful because she did not commit either of the crimes for which Sgt. Hilts arrested her.” It also says that Sgt. Hilts committed, “a battery upon Ms. Hargrave.”
In the lawsuit is a list of alleged damages suffered by Hargrave because of Sgt. Hilts.
• Past physical pain and suffering
• Past, present, and future mental anguish, embarrassment, humiliation, and indignity
• Past, present and future medical and therapy expenses
• The cost associated with release from jail