Judge orders Beaumont police chief to turn over all evidence in Derrick Newman beating case

David Yates Sep. 28, 2009, 6:56am

Judge Donald Floyd has ordered Beaumont Police Chief Frank Coffin to turn over a videotape capturing the 2008 police beating of Derrick Newman.

Newman claims he was Tasered by Beaumont police during a routine pullover.

During a Sept. 17 hearing, attorneys for the Beaumont Police Department and city had asked Judge Floyd to quash the plaintiff's production of materials request, arguing that the video tape was part of an ongoing criminal investigation.

However, on Sept. 22 the judge granted the plaintiff's motion to compel production, ordering the police chief to turn over all evidence related to the civil case.

In June, Newman's attorney, Langston Adams, made a request to BPD Chief Frank Coffin to turn over the videotape from the police car's dashboard camera and all records relating to the Aug. 24, 2007, arrest of Newman.

But "instead of responding to this request," Coffin's and the city's attorney, Judy Ross, filed a motion to quash and a request for a protective order, arguing that the evidence "is part of an on-going criminal investigation, currently being prosecuted by the District Attorney's office," court papers say.

During the hearing, Ross said it is not the department's call to release the tape and Adams should go through the District Attorney's office.

The DA is currently prosecuting two criminal cases against two of the officers involved in the incident, James Guedry and David Burke.

In turn, Adams argued the DA has already released a copy of the tape to the media and he is after the original, which is currently being stored an Internal Affairs G file.

"Everybody in Jefferson County has already seen the tape," he added.

Ross said the evidence stored in the Internal Affairs file is protected by a state statue and should not be incorporated into Adams' civil case, due to the criminal proceedings.

Conversely, Adams contended that there is no lawful reason why a "criminal and civil case can't proceed at the same time."

"Just because there is a pending criminal case doesn't mean you have to delay the civil case," he said.

Also at issue during the hearing was if Coffin had been properly served.

However, in spite of the defence's objections, Floyd allowed the hearing to proceed.

Case No. E182-725

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