Louisiana – A Zachary police officer is serving a 13-day suspension without pay this week after the chief ruled that he violated multiple department policies when he used a stun gun on a handcuffed man in April, according to the discipline letter obtained by The Advocate.
Chief David McDavid determined that Officer Daulton Rainwater violated policies on use of force, deployment of stun guns and command of temper, according to the letter dated Aug. 2. Rainwater started his suspension on Aug. 3. He has until Aug. 17 to file an appeal with the Zachary Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board.
Rainwater responded to a call about a “suspicious incident” at the Best Western Hotel on Highway 19 on April 30, according to the letter. He located an allegedly drunken and uncooperative man, who Rainwater then handcuffed and placed in the back of his police unit.
The man, whose name is redacted from the letter, then started to kick the glass window of the vehicle, and Rainwater fired his stun gun at the man and “guided him to the ground to calm him down,” according to the discipline letter.
Phillip Lee Lilly is identified in the initial incident report as the man involved in the situation. Lilly, 36, was arrested on resisting an officer and disturbing the peace.
Nearly two months later on June 25, Zachary Police Officer Emily Nichols submitted a complaint about the incident, alleging that Rainwater had used excessive force. Nichols had assisted Rainwater on the call.
“I find it imperative that this incident be reviewed by an unbiased entity without delay,” Nichols wrote in her complaint.
Rainwater, who has been with the department for two years, had a discipline hearing in response to the complaint on July 11.
McDavid quoted parts of the violated policies in Rainwater’s discipline letter, writing that “you may use only reasonable force to affect the arrest and detention” and “the TASER will never be used punitively or for the purposes of coercion.”
“All members of the department must at all times be quiet, civil, and orderly, and in the performance of his/her duties must maintain decorum, command of temper, patience, and discretion,” McDavid quoted from the violated command of temper expectations.
In addition to Rainwater’s suspension, McDavid ordered that the officer complete training on verbal de-escalation and re-trainings on use of force and use of Taser, according to the discipline letter.