Police officer off force after investigation By Sarah Hogsed,Eagle Post editor Kentucky New Era.An internal investigation into allegations of excessive force by Oak Grove’s K-9 unit resulted in the suspension of one officer and the departure of another.Police Chief Milton Perry said Tuesday that the city’s investigation was of the Dec.12,2009,arrest of Fort Campbell soldier Richard C. Lestienne after police responded to a disturbance call at the McDonald’s restaurant on Kentucky 115.Lestienne, 27, was being loud and beating on restaurant tables inside the Pilot truck stop on the night of Dec.11,2009,according to an Oak Grove police report. His friend, Terrence E.Smith,27,Clarksville,reporte dly took him outside where Lestienne became even louder,hitting windows and causing alarm to the people in the store.Smith put Lestienne in his car and left the store, according the report. Three Oak Grove officers – Sgt.Vincent Brown and officers James Layne and Jack Rowlands Smith was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.While Smith was being arrested,Lestienne reportedly became disorderly in the vehicle. He refused to get out of the car,officers used the police K-9 was used to forcibly remove him,according to the report.Lestienne was charged with two counts of first-degree disorderly conduct.He received medical treatment from Oak Grove ambulance personnel at the police station but reportedly became loud and banged his head into the building’s wall.
Videotape of the arrest
Hopkinsville attorney Ken Haggard,who is representing Lestienne showed The Eagle Post videotape with audio from the three police cars at the scene of the arrest,which gave a different picture of what happened.In the video,Brown took Smith out of the car and was administering field sobriety tests while Rowlands talked with Lestienne, who stayed seated in the passenger seat of the car.
When Layne arrived, he said,“I know this guy”and also started talking to Lestienne.At one point Lestienne hung out of the car window and banged his hand on the car door,and was told by one officer not to do that. Lestienne told the officers,“I just wanna go home.”Layne then walked away out of the range of the camera and returned holding the department’s dog,Aries,by the collar.He quickly opened the passenger side door of the car,motioned for Lestienne to get out and started yelling commands,stating“Step out now,you will be dog-bitten.”He shouted the warnings four times in quick succession.Lestienne moved to comply with his hands in the air,scooting across the car seat and placing both hands and feet outside the car.When he was halfway out of the car,Layne took a few steps forward with his hand on the dog and pulled the dog onto Lestienne.The dog bit him on the arm.Layne then grabbed Lestienne, who was screaming,by the back of the neck and pushed him face-first onto the ground.While Lestienne was on the ground, Layne said,“Give us your arms now or you will be bitten again.”Haggard said Lestienne suffered nerve damage to his arm from the dog bite.Layne and Brown were given letters of suspension on Feb.23 and Feb.24, respectively.The suspensions would last until the “completion of a department investigation,” according to the letter signed by the police chief on behalf of Mayor Dan Potter.The letters also said the suspension was based upon“allegations of excessive use of physical force by and through the City’s K-9 unit against an individual during the course of an arrest.”In the documents following the attorney general’s ruling,there is an Advice of Personnel Action form dated March 19 that shows James Layne was terminated from the city’s employment on March 17.Brown did not have any reprimands in the documents provided to the newspaper. Layne had one verbal warning from May 29, when he did not show up to a grand jury hearing and two defendants were released from jail because of his lack of testemony Brown declined to comment on the investigation. Layne could not be reached.