from the Third Judicial District Court for the Parish of
Lincoln, Louisiana Lower Court Case No. 65498 Honorable Jay
LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT By: Carey J. Ellis, III Counsel
FITZGERALD BELTON District Attorney LAURIE LEE WHITTEN JAMES
TRACY WAYNE HOUCK Assistant District Attorneys Counsel for
MOORE, LOLLEY, and COX, JJ.
defendant, Rashad Montreal Turner ("Turner"), was
charged with resisting a police officer with force or
violence. Following a jury trial, a unanimous six-person jury
found Turner guilty of the responsive verdict of attempted
resisting a police officer with force or violence, in
violation of La. R.S. 14:27 and La. R.S. 14:108.2(A)(3). He
was sentenced to serve one year at hard labor, suspended; two
years' supervised probation; and was given a $750.00 fine
or six months in parish jail in default of payment. Turner
appealed his conviction based on insufficiency of the
evidence. For the reasons stated below, we affirm
Turner's conviction. However, we respectfully amend the
portion of Turner's sentence that states he will spend
six months in parish jail in default of payment of the
$750.00 fine since Turner was and is an indigent. Rather,
that portion of the sentence shall state that the $750.00
fine shall be imposed as a condition of Turner's
probation. As amended, we affirm.
December 5, 2013, Sergeant Gary White ("Sergeant
White") and Officer Thomas Harmon ("Officer
Harmon"), officers of the Grambling State University
Police, were called to the Holland Hall dormitory. The call
indicated that a woman, later identified as Equasia Gallow
("Ms. Gallow"), had been thrown out into the hall
of the dormitory by her boyfriend and that she was naked.
Sergeant White and Officer Harmon responded and found Ms.
Gallow in distress and crying, and it appeared she had been
scratched. Ms. Gallow gave a statement to Sergeant White in
which she stated that she and Turner, her boyfriend, were in
his dorm room when they got into an argument over information
he found on her cellphone. She stated that Turner threw her
out of his dorm room without her pants on and then threw
water in her face.
point, the officers had determined that Turner had left the
dormitory, so they escorted Ms. Gallow and an eyewitness to
the incident, Donathan Howard, to the university police
station to get their statements. While Sergeant White took
Ms. Gallow's statement, Officer Harmon patrolled the area
looking for Turner since the officers had been given a
description of Turner and his vehicle. Officer Harmon
eventually spotted Turner's vehicle in a parking lot near
the dormitory; both he and Sergeant White went into the
building to locate Turner.
the officers reached Turner's dorm suite, they knocked on
the door and identified themselves as the police. When the
officers' repeated knocking and announcements got no
response, they had a resident assistant open the door to the
suite. Once the officers entered the dorm suite, they again
identified themselves and knocked on Turner's bedroom
door numerous times before Turner opened the door.
White told Turner that he was under arrest for domestic abuse
battery and read Turner his Miranda rights. Sergeant
White then asked Turner to turn around and place his hands
behind his back. After Sergeant White placed one cuff on
Turner's left arm, Turner jerked his right arm loose and
refused to allow Sergeant White to cuff him. Sergeant White
forced Turner onto the nearby bed, where he asked Turner
multiple times to give him his right arm. Turner tucked his
right arm underneath his chest and refused to release his
arm. At this point, Officer Harmon stepped in, and the
officers were able to successfully place both cuffs on
officers escorted Turner downstairs to the police vehicle.
Once they had reached the vehicle, Turner refused to get in
after several requests by Sergeant White. Sergeant White told
Turner that if he did not cooperate, he would be placed into
the vehicle; Turner complied.
reaching the police station, Sergeant White attempted to get
more information from Turner. When asked his middle name,
Turner responded with an expletive. When asked his date of
birth, Turner told Sergeant White that he did not have one.
Turner eventually complied with Sergeant White, and Sergeant
White was able to get the information he needed to complete
was subsequently charged with the felony offense of resisting
a police officer with force or violence, in violation of La.
R.S. 14:108.2(A)(3). The trial court found Turner to be
indigent and appointed counsel to represent him.
March 27, 2015, Turner appeared before the court and the
state's plea offer was read into the record. The state
offered to allow Turner to plead guilty to the reduced
misdemeanor charge of resisting an officer, with a six-month
suspended sentence and one year of supervised probation.
Turner confirmed to the court that his attorney had
communicated the state's plea offer to him, but he
declined the offer and chose to proceed to trial.
trial, Sergeant White testified that he was not injured by
Turner and that he did not feel threatened by Turner's
actions. Sergeant White stated that he had a safety interest
in cuffing Turner because the dorm room was small, and he was
not sure what was located in the room that Turner could have
grabbed. Sergeant White also testified that he believed
Turner was trying to resist being handcuffed and not trying
to injure him. He later conceded, however, that he did not
actually know what Turner intended. Sergeant White agreed
with the state's argument that Turner had to know that
the loose right hand cuff was attached to the cuff already on
his left wrist when he jerked his arm free. Sergeant White
stated that Turner's snatching and whipping around of the
loose cuff was also a concern because it could have been an
attempt by Turner to injure him. Sergeant White testified
that he knew of two instances where an officer was gruesomely
injured with handcuffs.
Harmon testified that Turner was twisting and flailing his
left arm around in a dangerous manner. Officer Harmon
conceded that Turner did not swing at Sergeant White or
attack either of them. However, Officer Harmon believed
Turner's combativeness could have led to one or both of
the officers being injured. He testified that Turner's
actions indicated that he did not want to be arrested or
handcuffed and that this constituted resistance. Officer
Harmon also testified that the metal handcuffs are dangerous
because they are heavy and have a serrated edge, so swinging
them around could cause an injury.
trial court advised Turner of his right to remain silent and
his right to testify; Turner chose to testify. Turner
testified that he had obtained a degree in biology from GSU
and that he was working to earn money to attend pharmacy
school. He testified that he had never been handcuffed,
arrested, or convicted of any crime.
testified that when he heard the officers knocking, he opened
the door to find Officer Harmon, with a Taser in his hand,
and Sergeant White, who told him to turn
around. Turner stated that as Sergeant White
pulled his left arm behind his back, Sergeant White threw him
onto the bed and lay on top of him, pinning Turner's
right arm underneath him. Turner testified that he squirmed
and wriggled to free his right arm, and Sergeant White then
cuffed his right wrist. He testified that he never hit or
attempted to hit Sergeant White, nor did he ever try to