The ACLU Foundation of Louisiana announces the successful resolution of a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of Steven Elloie, owner of the New Orleans Central City bar Sportsman's Corner, who on June 23, 2006 was brutally beaten, Tased twice with up to 50,000 volts of electricity while handcuffed and lying on the ground, falsely arrested on trumped up charges and eventually cleared of the accusation.
On the evening of his assault by the police, Mr. Elloie was in a back room of his bar when six to ten NOPD officers stormed in. About 16 patrons were in the bar at the time. The officers insisted on searching the premises without a warrant or permission from any employee or Mr. Elloie. They pointed guns at everyone in the bar, used profane, disrespectful language, and refused to allow people to use their cell phones.
Elloie heard the commotion and came out to investigate. As manager, he offered to assist the officers, but was assaulted by several officers who threw him to the floor and continued to beat and kick him. While he was on the floor, officers handcuffed him and Tased him twice, which rendered him incapable of walking. The officers then dragged Mr. Elloie outside to the police car and took him to Orleans Parish Prison.
Because of his injuries from the police beating and Tasing, prison officials refused to admit Mr. Elloie until he had received medical care. After treatment at Charity Hospital for multiple injuries to the head, body, and extremities, Elloie was returned to OPP where he was charged with resisting arrest and battery on an officer. All criminal charges were dropped on March 8, 2007, and on June 13, 2007 the ACLU filed suit against the Police Chief Warren Riley and the individual officers who had beaten Mr. Elloie.
Now, almost four years after his beating, Mr. Elloie has entered a settlement under which he will receive monetary damages to compensate him for the injuries he sustained at the hands of the police. The ACLU Foundation of Louisiana will also receive compensation for the expenses of the attorneys who worked on his behalf.
ACLU Legal Director Katie Schwartzmann, who has represented Steven Elloie, said: "Steven Elloie did nothing wrong, but was assaulted and beaten by the police. This settlement will give him some compensation for the suffering that he experienced, and in addition it should send the message to police officers that they cannot abuse their authority by attacking innocent people for no reason."
In the nearly four years since Mr. Elloie's attack by the police, the New Orleans Police Department has been criticized for the excessive use of force by some of its officers. Marjorie R. Esman, ACLU of Louisiana Executive Director, said of the NOPD: "It's unfortunate that the actions of a few bad officers can undermine the effectiveness of the police force. The officers who attacked Steven Elloie should have known better, as should all other officers on the force. This settlement should send the message that the people of New Orleans expect, and are entitled to, police who act within the law to protect people. When officers break the law by attacking innocent people without cause, we expect them to be held accountable."
Steven Elloie was represented by ACLU Foundation of Louisiana Legal Director Katie Schwartzmann and by New Orleans attorney Ron Wilson.