Settlements award nearly $50K over string of illegal arrests

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Six people who accused law enforcement officers in a rural Louisiana community of illegally detaining and secretly jailing them will share settlement proceeds totaling nearly $50,000.

The settlement terms are disclosed in documents that The Associated Press obtained through public records requests.

The six plaintiffs sharing $47,500 in settlement proceeds represent a fraction of the cases in which law enforcement officers in Evangeline Parish have been accused of using unconstitutional “investigative holds” to detain people for questioning.

A Justice Department report said the Ville Platte Police Department and Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office used the practice more than 900 times between 2012 and 2014.

A settlement agreement resolved one of the lawsuits before a judge could decide whether to certify it as a class action that could benefit many more people.

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