A Louisiana father accused a police officer of taunting him and then arresting him because he cursed at his 4-year-old son.
Kevin Mitchell, of Slidell, just north of New Orleans, said that he, his wife and their five children were at their local Walmart around 6 p.m. on Feb. 21 when he got into an altercation with Slidell police Capt. Kevin Swann in the parking lot.
Mitchell and his family recorded the incident on their cellphones and posted the videos on Facebook.
The altercation began when Mitchell’s family pulled into a parking spot next to a truck outside of the Walmart Neighborhood Market. Mitchell said his son opened the car door to get out and almost hit the truck.
“I told my son, ‘Don’t be doing that f—ing s—,'” he said.
Mitchell said Swann was in the truck and told him that he couldn’t curse at the child and not to use profanity in public. The married father-of-five said he told Swann he could not tell him how to talk to his child.
Things quickly escalated.
One video shows Mitchell cursing at Swann as he leads his children inside the store.
“Call who the f— you want to call. You better get the f— on, b—-. You got me f—– up. These my motherf—— kids,” Mitchell says, at one point calling the officer the N-word.
Swann responds by making a comment about a “great country.”
A second video shows Mitchell and his family leaving Walmart. When he walks outside, Swann and several other officers arrest him after Mitchell and Swann exchange words.
He was booked on using obscene language and disturbing the peace. Mitchell was released from jail after posting his bond.
The father said that the videos don’t tell the full story of what happened, and accused Swann of taunting him.
“The officer was already on 100 percent,” Mitchell said. “I kept telling him, ‘Dude, you’re picking with me.’ And he kept telling me what I can’t do in Slidell.”
He added: “If he thought what I said to my son was disrespectful, he should have came to me as a man. If you’re respectful to me, I’m going to be respectful back. But he came off disrespectful.”
Mitchell said the encounter with Swann was embarrassing and left his children upset. On Thursday, he filed a formal complaint against Swann with the Slidell Police Department. He said he believes Swann should be fired for his handling of the situation.
“I feel like officers are here to defuse the situation,” Mitchell said. “This officer, he saw gas and lit a match, and that was his motive from the jump.”
The Slidell Police Department did not return multiple calls and emails for comment. Chief Randy Fandal said that the officers acted appropriately and had “more than enough probable cause to arrest Mr. Mitchell.”
“We will do a full investigation into this matter by gathering all of the facts in order to determine if there were any policy violations committed by my officers,” Fandal said, adding that Mitchell was not arrested for disciplining his child.
“Not in relation to this particular incident, but in general, if someone is repeatedly yelling extreme profanities and racial slurs, at a public place like Walmart … and refuses to calm down and continues to carry on, causing alarm and distress to innocent bystanders… yes, they will be arrested,” Fandal said in his statement.
Mitchell said he’s not going to apologize for cursing at Swann, but did apologize to his son for how he talked to him.
WDSU reported that his next court date is May 4 and he is calling for the charges against him to be dropped.