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Records show Opelousas police officer charged with malfeasance choked restrained teen

Tyron Andrepont.jpg
Posted at 3:07 PM, Jun 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-12 18:06:57-04

OPELOUSAS, La. — Court records show that Opelousas Police Sgt. Tyron Andrepont hit a teen in the face and held him in a choke hold as he was restrained in his hospital room last year.

Andrepont was charged on Tuesday for five counts of malfeasance in connection with the alleged beating of that same teen. Andrepont was booked with five counts of malfeasance in office, then posted $25,000 bond and was released shortly after being booked. If convicted, he faces up to five years in jail or prison and fines of up to $5,000 on each charge.

Opelousas Police Chief Martin McLendon confirmed with KATC last night that Andrepont has been on administrative leave since last fall.

Attorney Daryl Kevin Washington says his client Jonah Coleman, who is 18 now, was beaten by Andrepont while in a room at Opelousas General Hospital in October 2019.

According to a probable cause affidavit, which was drafted by an investigator with the District Attorney's office and filed on Friday, Andrepont responded to Opelousas General Hospital’s south campus on Oct. 30, 2019, where Coleman was being treated in the emergency room.

Washington has said that Coleman was taken to the hospital by his family and was not in police custody.

The affidavit states that Coleman was restrained while he was in his room.

According to the affidavit, there is video footage captured by a camera in the treatment room that shows Andrepont assaulting Coleman multiple times, but it does not indicate if the Coleman was hit between pauses or as one ongoing assault.

According to State Police Investigator Mark Fournet, the video shows that Coleman made numerous attempts to get out of bed at 7:18 p.m.

Fournet says that Andrepont then rushed toward the bed to reach for Coleman with his right hand and striking his face causing his head to snap backwards. Andrepont then reached for Coleman again with his right hand but did not make contact.

According to Fournet’s assessment of the video, Andrepont then pressed down on Coleman’s upper torso and neck area with one hand and then moved that hand to the right of Coleman’s neck while pushing his head and upper body.

Fournet says that at 7:37 p.m. Andrepont grabbed the lower part of Coleman’s leg and threw it back toward his head.

At 8:32 p.m., Andrepont then put his right hand on Coleman’s neck and pushed his head downward. Andrepont then maintained his hold on Coleman’s neck.

During another incident at 9:51 p.m., Andrepont released his hold on Coleman’s arm and put his right arm around Coleman’s neck in a chokehold.

Then at 10:18 p.m. Andrepont held the handcuff that was still attached to Coleman’s right wrist and pulled it to the rear, extending Coleman’s arm.

McLendon says he learned of the incident two weeks after it happened, and immediately turned it over to State Police for an independent investigation.

They finished that investigation on Feb. 7 and gave their findings to the St. Landry Parish District Attorney's office.

KATC Investigates has discovered several instances dating back to 2008 where Tyron Andrepont was disciplined for breaking the rules while working for the Opelousas Police Department.

KATC Investigates also found that an Opelousas minister filed a lawsuit against Andrepont, the police department and the city over a 2010 incident, which is still pending.

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