Video recently obtained by The Advocate shows Louisiana police using excessive force to kill a man who wanted to know why he was being arrested.
Armando Frank, 44, was wrestled off a tractor at Walmart and killed by police serving an arrest warrant in October 2017. The warrant was from a neighborly dispute and was for simple criminal trespassing and attempted unauthorized entry into a dwelling, which resulted in court ordered treatment at a VA hospital.
Frank did not know why he was being arrested, so he asked why. Instead of showing him a warrant or giving him a reason, an officer choked him until he died.
The video below shows an officer climbing onto the tractor and putting Frank into a choke hold while another officer tries to pull Frank off the tractor.
Gregory Gilbertson, director of the criminal justice program at Centralia College in Washington state, reviewed the video for The Advocate. Gilbertson says Frank was trying to find out what he was being arrested for and who signed the warrant. Instead, sheriff’s deputy Brandon Spillman put him in a lateral vascular neck restraint, which cuts off airflow.
“Most agencies now only authorize their officers to use it in ground-fighting situations where deadly force is their only other option,” Gilbertson said. “They might have pacified Mr. Frank if he had known what the warrant was for.”
The Advocate also spoke with Philip Stinson, an associate professor of criminal justice at Bowling Green State University, who believes Frank had no rights once officers claimed there was a warrant for him.
“When a police officer says that they have a warrant for you, you need to get off the tractor and come with us, that’s not negotiable. You can’t negotiate that, even if it turns out there wasn’t a warrant or it was an invalid warrant,” Stinson said.
Stinson also pointed out that officers could be liable for refusing to try to revive Frank after killing him.
“Once they got him on the ground and he’s dead weight, at that point I think it’s time to check his airway,” Stinson said. “He was unconscious. He had stopped breathing at that point at a minimum, it seems to me.”
An Avoyelles Parish grand jury considered negligent homicide charges against the officers in March, but officers are not facing any charges for killing an unarmed man simply sitting on a tractor asking why they wanted to arrest him.
Watch video of the killing below: