Louisiana Cop Accused of Beating Handcuffed Woman Back on the Job

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

In 2007, Shreveport police officer Wiley Willis arrested 38-year-old Angela Garbarino on suspicion of drunken driving. While in custody, as captured on the video below, Garbarino began arguing with Willis about what she said was her right to make a phone call. About a minute later, Willis walked over and turned off the video camera. When the camera returns back on, Garbarino was lying on the floor in a pool of her own blood. She was later photographed with severe facial injuries that looked to have come from a beating. Willis’ attorney stated that she tripped and fell while the camera was off. After the video went viral, Willis was fired, but never criminally charged.

Last month, the Shreveport Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board voted to reinstate Willis on the police force. He’ll get full back pay and benefits for the year-and-a-half he was fired. The reason? During the internal investigation of Willis, a polygraph machine operator failed to record the results of his Q&A with Willis. This apparently is a violation of Louisiana’s “Police Officer’s Bill of Rights,” a set of guidelines every department must follow when investigating officer misconduct.

Garbarino won a $400,000 settlement from the city of Shreveport last year.

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66 Responses to “Louisiana Cop Accused of Beating Handcuffed Woman Back on the Job”

  1. #1 |  Matt D | 

    Yeah, it’s too bad there’s not some bill of rights officers have to follow when investigating the rest of us.

  2. #2 |  pam | 

    that left me pretty much speechless.

  3. #3 |  pam | 

    This can’t be the first time this guy has beat the crap out of someone.

  4. #4 |  MDGuy | 

    How the fuck did we get to a point where a “Police Officer’s Bill of Rights” is given more credence than the real Bill of Rights? This makes me sick.

    “Willis’ attorney stated that she tripped and fell while the camera was off.”

    Excuses are like assholes. Everybody’s got one and they all stink. I wonder how many wife-beaters this guy has testified against in court who’ve given this exact same load of bull.

  5. #5 |  pam | 

    and why didn’t he just let her make the phone call? Other motives seem to be in play with this a$$hole.

  6. #6 |  z | 

    Dont you hate it when some scumbag gets off on a technicality? Oh wait, he is a police officer? The system worked then.

  7. #7 |  billy-jay | 

    Hatefulness warning:

    Jim Bell for this motherfucker.

  8. #8 |  Tokin42 | 

    “Look for the Union Label”.

  9. #9 |  David in Balt | 

    It still makes me sick to hear things like this, but not really surprised anymore. When you give a group of people the ability to not only police others, but themselves, it should come as no surprise that things like this will happen.

  10. #10 |  Woog | 

    It’s getting ever harder to tell the real crooks apart from cops.

  11. #11 |  perlhaqr | 

    “Those who make peaceful change impossible will make violent change inevitable.”

  12. #12 |  Zargon | 

    #10
    It’s getting ever harder to tell the real crooks apart from cops.

    Really? I find it quite easy. See, the real crooks wear distinctive blue uniforms (most of the time).

  13. #13 |  Rhayader | 

    How the fuck did we get to a point where a “Police Officer’s Bill of Rights” is given more credence than the real Bill of Rights?

    It’s the alphabet soup: PBA, FOP, etc. These guys are more powerful than any labor union could hope to be.

  14. #14 |  Marty | 

    ‘Jim Bell for this motherfucker.’

    he’s number 78 on the list I’m submitting…

    I love how this douchebag, in classic redneck fashion, is polite to her after the beating. Now… if she does the dishes THIS time, nothing bad will happen…

    after seeing how ineffective the US Bill of Rights is, I’m surprised the cops would want a bill of rights… oh wait, it’s a POLICE OFFICER”S bill of rights!

  15. #15 |  Lolo | 

    Did anyone bother to ask WHY the camera was turned off in the first place? This is sickening, I hope that cop gets what he deserves.

  16. #16 |  max | 

    #6 erg, seems like clearly a harmless error to me if it was a civilian defendant. What is delicious is that the officer was reinstated because the city failed to videotape an interview of the investigation of what occurred when the officer stopped the videotape during an “interview” of the woman.

  17. #17 |  Packratt | 

    Louisiana isn’t the only state with a bill of rights just for police officers, several others have similar bills and some are even more protective in that they shield misconduct records from FOIA laws. In fact, there’s HR 1972 that’s in committee now in congress that would put one in effect nationwide if it passed.

    Though first created by Joe Biden when he was a senator it hasn’t made it out of committee in the previous attempts to pass it, but this time around the climate is a bit more favorable for it to move forward, especially with Obama still getting flack for the whole Gates affair.

  18. #18 |  ClubMedSux | 

    In the interest of fairness, I’ll give props to police chief Henry Whitehorn for publicly stating he’s “disappointed with the board’s ruling” and moving forward to appeal of the Board’s decision. At least one cop out there seems to recognize this guy shouldn’t have a gun and a badge.

  19. #19 |  hamburglar007 | 

    The PO bill of rights and union protections are bullshit. Just as an example, in NYC one of the big sticking points when the NYPD contract is being negotiated is the 48 hour rule. This is the rule where investigators can’t question an officer for 2 days after a shooting. You know because of the trauma (and so they can get their stories straight).

  20. #20 |  Mike T | 

    The reason? During the internal investigation of Willis, a polygraph machine operator failed to record the results of his Q&A with Willis. This apparently is a violation of Louisiana’s “Police Officer’s Bill of Rights,” a set of guidelines every department must follow when investigating officer misconduct.

    OK, reinstate him and pay him the full back pay. Then call the district attorney and have him file felony assault and battery charges spiced up with attempted homicide and obstruction of justice.

  21. #21 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #8 Tokin42

    “Look for the Union Label”.

    Yeah, I think this will now be the case I refer to whenever someone starts ranting about how unions fight for fair treatment for their members. Fair treatment for this asshole would have left him in exactly the same (or worse) shape as the woman he beat the shit out of.

    A union with any integrity at all would have done everything in it’s power to to disassociate themselves from that prick. Instead, I think we can safely say that this is exemplary of the standard of performance unions expect from their members.

  22. #22 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #15 Lolo

    I hope that cop gets what he deserves.

    He deserves to trip and fall. Over and over and over and…

  23. #23 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Wow. Get a “bill of rights” agreed to with the help of your union and then never follow the rules so everything gets thrown out. Well played pigs, well played.

  24. #24 |  Pablo | 

    Here in GA a defendant and his/her attorney are not allowed in front of a grand jury when said grand jury (also known as a rubber stamp) is considering whether to indict–unless the defendant is a police officer. ‘Cause they are, you know, special.

  25. #25 |  Thom | 

    Amazing how that polygraph examiner just happened to make a mistake that would get the officer off…what are the odds?

  26. #26 |  scottp | 

    Of course they didn’t record the polygraph results.
    The sack of shit failed miserably.

  27. #27 |  MattinCincy | 

    I agree ScottP… I’m SURE the failure to record the results was purely accidental. SURE…

  28. #28 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #27 MattinCincy

    I agree ScottP… I’m SURE the failure to record the results was purely accidental. SURE…

    It’s possible. Violations of procedure happen all the time. But when it’s a civilian they’re after, they just lie about it to make sure it doesn’t interfere with conviction.

    But, I agree with you completely. There are probably any number of cops in that department willing to do whatever it took to make it impossible to try that asshole. Honest cops don’t stand a change when it comes to working with a bunch of armed bullies who expect you to lie for them as part of the job.

  29. #29 |  Rhayader | 

    Honest cops don’t stand a change when it comes to working with a bunch of armed bullies who expect you to lie for them as part of the job.

    This. The “few bad apples” argument falls apart, even if it’s true that the majority of recruits enter the force with noble goals. The disease is systemic, and sooner or later it infects just about everybody on the job.

  30. #30 |  Highway | 

    I’m just flabbergasted that the cops get a ‘Bill of Rights’ of protections that basically reads like a laundry list of the violations they perform on every day citizens.

    “We’re gonna do this crap to you, but nobody better even THINK of doing it to us.”

  31. #31 |  Big Boy | 

    “Amazing how that polygraph examiner just happened to make a mistake that would get the officer off…what are the odds?”

    Does he do this every time or just when he’s paid?

    The FBI’s Public Corruption Unit ought to investigate whether there is a pattern of “convenient” errors in Louisiana investigations..

  32. #32 |  PB | 

    In case anyone wanted to talk to this officer, there is a Wiley Willis listed in the online white pages in Shreveport.

  33. #33 |  Brandon Bowers | 

    Wait, she got $400,000 and he got back pay along with the ability to continue terrorizing the community? How did it work out that taxpayers got fucked in every possible way?

  34. #34 |  David | 

    Doesn’t it usually work out that way?

  35. #35 |  Angie | 

    All these stories makes you wonder if there are any decent, honest police officers around. Or are they all slime.

  36. #36 |  Judi | 

    Surely they jest.

  37. #37 |  Lior | 

    Brandon: When taxpayers chose to employ this guy, they accepted responsibility for what he might do. If the taxpayers don’t like what they got, they should probably vote for different lizards than the lizards they have right now.

  38. #38 |  Waste | 

    Looked through the ‘Bill of Rights’ and didn’t see anything about polygraph in there. Seems to be a that the polygrapher didn’t record the session which is required. Recording should be mandatory and in this case is and seems like common sense. For the same reasons all interogations, interviews, and there are cameras in the booking area.

    The officer should have been charged with assault. Like to see the reasoning on that one. Sure it would have been a he said/she said but so are many cases with less evidence. Not to mention the injuries. At a minimum charge him with tampering with evidence for turning off the recording. It’s a poor setup where the officer can even turn off the camera. The camera and recordings should be outside the booking area to prevent them from being turned off or tampered with.

  39. #39 |  Mattocracy | 

    Why can’t Michael Moore do a documentary about this?

  40. #40 |  Mattocracy | 

    @ Angie,

    There are no good police officers. If you are a good person, they don’t let you become a cop. It’s like wondering if there are nice people in the Ku Klux Klan. Neither organization will allow decent, upstanding individuals to join.

    My girlfriend dated a cop before me (most unfortunate) and tried to tell me that he was a nice guy and treated people fairly. I responded that he was liar and just told her what she wanted to hear so she would have sex with him. Before she got he the chance to get angry with my asshole comment, another of her friends who sitting with us at the time confirmed my statement. Apparently everyone saw this guy for what he was.

    I’m sorry Angie, all cops are bastards.

  41. #41 |  MDGuy | 

    #39 | Mattocracy | September 9th, 2009 at 2:52 pm
    Why can’t Michael Moore do a documentary about this?

    I’d prefer he didn’t. It’d just give the badge-lickers ammunition.

    “Look Michael Moore did a documentary on it, it’s got to be a load of liberal B.S.!”

  42. #42 |  Tyro | 

    The polygraph tests may be missing but what about the astrologer’s report? The seance?

    The police department should make sure to explore all avenues before reaching a judgement.

  43. #43 |  Mattocracy | 

    You might be right MDGuy, but I don’t see Glenn Beck doing any stories about police misconduct.

  44. #44 |  Cynical in CA | 

    And Matt, don’t forget that even if by some miracle one could find an honest cop, the fact that they are paid with tax money (stolen loot) slimes even that vanishingly rare exception.

  45. #45 |  Eric Seymour | 

    Now we know what kind of evil hellspawn is born when police brutality meets unchecked union power.

  46. #46 |  Big Chief | 

    I think it’s a positive that the city of Shreveport abided by its rules and reinstated this police officer when it was found they hadn’t followed proper procedure.

    Shreveport should continue this wonderful pattern of following the rule of law and arrest the newly reinstated police officer for felonious assault and unlawful imprisonment. I’m sure I will be hearing very soon about the prosecutor’s diligent pursuit of justice in this case.

  47. #47 |  Waste93 | 

    Big Chief,

    You may be right on the assault. Could possibly add tampering with evidence. But unlawful imprisonment? Not sure how you got there. She was arrested for DUI. So her being there in jail isn’t unlawful imprisonment unless you can prove that her DUI arrest was knowingly false by the officer.

  48. #48 |  Big Chief | 

    I’m not a lawyer but here’s my take on it. The whole episode seemed to have escalated from the cop not allowing her to make a phone call (and by extension legal representation). If you are arrested you still have rights. Just as in his own case there are procedures for how a person is put into custody. Violation of those procedures by the police should result in criminal charges. If he had decided he was not going to allow her to ever have a phone call, why wouldn’t that be unlawful improsonment? Also, once he beat her he violated procedure I believe his continued arrest and retention of her was null and void and he was now guilty of unlawful imprisonment.

    If an ordinary citizen had kept her in that room to beat the crap out of her like the cop did I think the prosecutor would at least consider the charge. Once the cop violates procedure I think he should be subject to every criminal charge with which an ordinary citizen could be charged. If that’s not how the law reads now, it should be changed, at least for egregious violations like this one.

  49. #49 |  Andrew | 

    You know these days it is exceedingly rare to encounter a peace officer who is courteous, helpful and respectful. That is a 180 degree turn around from just 25 years or 30 years ago. You occasionally run across one today but it is generally a guy about ready to retire. The poisoning of the profession must have its roots in the academy system. The more recently they’ve come out of the academy the worse they are.

  50. #50 |  KBCraig | 

    Somewhere out there in the innerwebz (and I wish I could find it) is a split-screen video. On the right, we see the footage above, but without the editing. On the left, we see the footage from a camera mounted on the squad room wall, time-synched to the Breathalyzer footage.

    Shortly after the Breathalyzer camera is turned off, the squad room camera (mounted on the wall adjointing the two rooms, remember) shakes violently in a distinctive BAM-BAM-BAM sequence. Then the Breathalyzer camera is turned back on, we see other officers come in and out of the room, and eventually the paramedics.

    Pretty sure it was put together by one of the Shreveport TV stations, and it was about 30 minutes long. That’s all I can give you.

  51. #51 |  Waste | 

    Big Chief,

    The reason it isn’t unlawful imprisonment is that the phone call is not associated with the arrest. For it to be unlawful imprisonment you have to be inprisoned falsely. And it has to be known that the inprisonment is false. The phone call is irrelevant in that. The inprisonment was for the DUI and regardless of the assault it was legally justifiable. At least I haven’t seen any claims that the DUI arrest itself was false. There is a saying that two wrongs don’t make a right. Same applies here. Just because of the assult doesn’t mean the DUI goes away. If she should get away with the DUI because of the procedural violation and assault by the officer. Then you have to agree the reinstatement of the officer was also justified since the polygrapher violated procedure and the officers transgression should be forgiven. I don’t beleive that. I don’t think you do either. But you would have to to be consistent in your statement. Granted the DA will often drop the charges is such cases as long as they are not violent charges. But that is the DA’s or prosecutors choice.

    People should be held responsible for their actions. Just because something bad happens doesn’t mean you get a free pass. Also just because you get arrested doesn’t mean you get a phone call. Nor do you always have to be read Miranda. Those are myths. I don’t know how LA does it but some states and/or departments do a cite and release on DUI’s. That means you are arrested, processed, and then released to either a detox facility or someone is called to pick you up. In that case you don’t have to be given a phone call and even in cases that you are allowed a call it is usually done after processing. I can’t tell what part of the detention this is based on the video or the story.

    You are correct that if a private citizen did this they would probably be charged with assault and false inprisonment. However the difference is that in most cases a citizen does not have the right to detain someone. While an officer with probable cause does. However in some cases private citizen can. Store security officers routinely detain shoplifters until officers get there and that isn’t false inprisonment.

    The officer in this case should have been charged. I didn’t see anything in the story to indicate why this was not done. It also sounds like the police chief did the right thing. He fired the guy and an independent board reinstated him. Also the chief seems to be appealing that decision. Good for him.

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  53. #53 |  Hannah | 

    49 | Andrew | September 10th, 2009 at 12:24 am
    “You know these days it is exceedingly rare to encounter a peace officer who is courteous, helpful and respectful. That is a 180 degree turn around from just 25 years or 30 years ago. You occasionally run across one today but it is generally a guy about ready to retire. The poisoning of the profession must have its roots in the academy system. The more recently they’ve come out of the academy the worse they are.”

    I think it goes beyond the academy. Given that some states will wait up to 2 years before they even send the recruits to academy I cant just blame it. Its an internal culture problem where over the years police have learned they can get away with more “indiscretions” shell we call them. As shown in the market place video, its turned into a “I’m up here your down there” mentality where the basic citizens are turned into peasants and the police are our ruling lords. I think part of that is due to not having cops actually walk a beat through a neighborhood giving them face to face time with the people they are suppose to be protecting. Part is from blaming them on increased/decreased crime when the stats goes up & down and a large part is turning them into revenue agents. Then there’s problems in the system with holding them accountable when they do break the law.

    You can see a smaller version happening at some Renaissance Fairs where the actors who play nobility start acting like they are really nobility behind sceans, until some one knocks them down a peg or two. At least there they can be knocked down, not nearly as easy to do with a cop.

  54. #54 |  pam | 

    so was the reason for her arrest in the first place to keep her and others safe? The “others” are safe, the her, not so much.

  55. #55 |  Charlie O | 

    I know you probably won’t post this, but this video and the Georgia story only strengthens my sincere belief that more people in this country should starting using deadly force to protect themselves from the police. The system certainly refuses to mete adequate punishment. It’s time for citizens to do it.

  56. #56 |  Temper Bay | 

    Hopefully this woman has a man in her life who will go and have a talk with Mr. Wiley ‘toughguy’ Willis in a parking lot some night. Nothing short of this is going to stop this putrid ass.

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  58. #58 |  lee | 

    surely you dont think this is a new thing?
    it started higher up the food chain and has filtered through to the local cops. it goes back father than my examples but these are the most vivid imn my memory. 1 waco texas the ATF and FBI burned alive 70 something children and adults. to serve one warrent for one person. instead of just leaving and catching the guy alone, they forced a bad situation and murdered many people and not one officer was ever even thought badly of much less punished.
    2 ruby ridge FBI “agents” murdered a baby and its mother for holding a door open. and not one ounce of wrong doing ever came from it. blatent murder and no charges, b urn children and no charges. why would you think a beatdown would result in anything but a raise and a vacation

  59. #59 |  stupidamerkin | 

    I’m sure this demented power mad bastard will be promoted as well. The more ruthless and brutal these road pirates are the faster they will climb the ranks in the corporate chain and they continue to get away with this criminal abuse because the dens of corruption, (courts) sanction and condone this kind of treatment. The darker the cop, the faster he will climb the ladder.

  60. #60 |  Eve11 | 

    jacksonl@legis.state.la.us

    Lydia P. Jackson, LA state senator for shreveport

  61. #61 |  meria | 

    One of thousands of stories about bad cops and the police state we now live in.

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