By Paige Nash (Claiborne Parish Journal)
Louisiana State Police (LSP) arrested Homer Police Department (HPD) Chief Van McDaniel today, November 6, on charges of aggravated battery and malfeasance in office.
According to the Louisiana State Police Bureau of Investigations/Bossier City Field Office (LSP BOI BCFO), detectives were contacted by Claiborne Parish District Attorney’s Office regarding a complaint of excessive use of force by HPD. Investigators reviewed the evidence that was provided to them. The investigation rendered that HPD Chief McDaniel used excessive force by deploying a taser multiple times on a non-combative subject, who was handcuffed behind his back and lying on the ground.
The arrest took place in December of 2022 while HPD was investigating a reported theft in the 1400 block of Arther Street in Homer. Officers assigned to the Patrol Division, including HPD Chief Elvan “Van” McDaniel, encountered and arrested one subject. That subject was ultimately booked on numerous charges, including resisting arrest.
A video circulating on Facebook that contained body cam footage from the December arrest, shows Chief McDaniel along with another officer, tasing the subject multiple times while he was restrained in handcuffs facedown on the ground.
The subject was eventually put into the back of a police car, while officers searched his vehicle. Officers were suspicious the subject had swallowed drugs during the traffic stop. Officers called emergency medical services to the scene.
HPD told the EMT on scene, “When he put his hands down, he went in his right pocket and came back out. He started shoving his mouth and when I finally got to him and put his hands behind his back, he could barely talk. I felt like he had something in his mouth.”
The subject responded, “You knocked the wind out of me when you pushed me up against my truck.”
The EMT informed HPD that the man’s blood pressure was high, but his pupils were not dilated. Due to HPD’s suspicion that the subject had ingested drugs, they agreed to transport him to a nearby hospital to conduct a more thorough examination.
The subject sued McDaniel, Officer Arnold Stevens, Officer Ted Robinson, an unnamed officer, HPD and the City of Homer in federal court in February, alleging excessive use of force. The latest filing as of April 12 stated that the proceedings are “pending outcome of criminal trial.”
As Investigators continue their investigation and gather more information, additional charges and/or arrests are possible. During this time, HPD will be unable to answer calls for service. Therefore, Claiborne Parish Sheriff’s Office (CPSO) will handle all calls for service in the area. Troop G will provide Troopers to assist CPSO.
Louisiana State Police will serve as the lead investigative agency. This investigation remains active and ongoing. Through coordination with Claiborne Parish District Attorney’s Office and LSP BOI BCFO, additional information will be provided once it becomes available.
The Louisiana State Police online reporting system is available to the public through an anonymous reporting form that is submitted to the appropriate investigators. The form can be found by visiting http://la-safe.org/ and clicking on the “Suspicious Activity” link.