Reginald Hilts, the Abbeville City Marshal’s Office employee who arrested a Vermilion Parish teacher Monday night, was sued in federal court in 2012 for alleged excessive force.
The case was dismissed in 2016, according to court records.
At the time of the suit, Hilts was an officer with the Scott Police Department.
The suit alleged Hilts and another Scott officer, Mark Venable, physically confronted a 62-year-old man when there was a dispute about grass being cut on an unused lot.
According to the suit, the plaintiff, Bruce Falcon, tried to tell the officers that workers were cutting grass on the wrong lot. The situation then turned physical, records show.
“Both officers, without any probable cause whatsoever to do so and without an arrest warrant, grabbed Mr. Falcon and shoved him up against the door of the building next to which they were standing … and then slammed Mr. Falcon’s head against the concrete slab on which they were standing,” the suit stated.
Falcon alleged he suffered a severe cut, fractured ribs and bruises. The officers then allegedly handcuffed Falcon and transported him to a local hospital for treatment.
“At all times pertinent hereto, each officer knew, or should have known, that the aforementioned constitutional rights were clearly established under federal law. What the officers did was objectively unreasonable,” the suit stated.
It was not clear from court documents exactly what role Hilts may have played in the incident.
Both officers denied all wrongdoing.
Most recently, Hilts has worked as a school resource officer at J.H. Williams Middle in Vermilion Parish, according to the school’s website.
The marshal's office has not responded to repeated requests for comment about the incident.
KATC-TV reported Tuesday that there had been no change in Hilts’ employment status.
In addition to his role in law enforcement, Hilts is the pastor of The Sanctuary of Worship in Rayne, according to the church’s website.
In his biography on the church website, Hilts said he was baptized at age 7 and began working in ministry with his wife in 2010. In 2011, he was licensed under the leadership of Bishop Derald Weber of The Pentecostals of Lafayette.
While at The Pentecostals of Lafayette, Hilts worked in youth ministry, children’s ministry, the creative worship team, nursing home ministry, music ministry, prison ministry and with young married couples.
Hilts also is a musician who has performed Christian and gospel music at local churches.
On his page on the Reverb Nation music website, Hilts said he has been singing since age 13 and taught himself to play the keyboard at age 17.
“With the help of God, I am now able to play and sing, in which I try to do skillfully,” Hilts wrote on his page. “Now let’s set one thing straight ahead of anything, I don’t consider myself to be ‘The Best’ but the anointing does WONDERS!!”
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