White officer charged with beating black teen accused in three excessive force incidents

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OPELOUSAS, La. (Daily Advertiser) — A white Opelousas police officer accused of beating a Black teen restrained in the hospital has been suspended at least four times for improper conduct, including a third incident of excessive force, records show.

Sgt. Tyron Andrepont 49, is facing five counts of malfeasance in office in connection with the latest police brutality claim made against him. Andrepont is accused of assaulting 18-year-old Jonah Coleman in October while the teen was receiving treatment at Opelousas General Hospital and not in police custody.

Andrepont has been on paid leave since Opelousas Police Chief Martin McLendon was notified about the incident in November. McLendon has approved three 60-day paid leave authorizations for Andrepont that allow the officer to continue receiving his annual salary of nearly $50,000, records show.

As an officer for 17 years with the Opelousas Police Department, Andrepont received five disciplinary actions by the Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board, according to personnel records obtained by The Daily Advertiser and The Daily World. Those records do not include internal affairs investigations.

The board found he violated use of force rules a year before he was accused by a Black minister of excessive force during a 2010 stop. That makes three separate allegations of excessive force against the officer during his career, including the assault that led to his arrest last week, records show.

The personnel records provided show action taken by the Municipal Fire and Police Civil Board, but do not provide details of the incidents that led to corrective action.

Officer cited for offensive conduct, unauthorized force

In 2006, Andrepont was suspended for a day, or a total of 12 hours, for offensive conduct that violated standards of service, according to personnel records.

The disciplinary action taken was for “conduct of a discourteous or wantonly offensive nature toward the public, any municipal officer or employee; and, any dishonest, or immoral conduct,” the report states. At the time, he had only been with the department for three years.

Andrepont was disciplined in 2009 for unauthorized use of force. He was suspended for seven days, a total of 80 work hours, records show.

“Employee must also complete counseling regarding anger management during this suspension, at employee’s expense,” according to the January 2009 disciplinary report in his personnel file.

A year later, Andrepont was accused of using excessive force and arresting a local minister, Elton Sam Jr.  Andrepont thought the Black minister, who was delivering donated clothes to Goodwill, was stealing them. 

Sam said Andrepont cussed him, choked him and slammed him against a patrol car. Andrepont never charged the minister with a crime, although he arrested him. In 2011, Sam sued Andrepont, the police department and its then chief, and the city of Opelousas.

The incident is not noted in Andrepont’s personnel file and no disciplinary action is listed. The lawsuit, which is pending, was included in the personnel file.

To read the remainder of this story, visit our media partners at the Daily Advertiser.

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