Winnfield officer put on leave after allegedly tasing suspect

Dubbed a “great place to retire,” Winfield is known for breeding one of Louisiana’s most popular governors by the name of Huey P. Long. Though Winnfield has one of the more popular governors, the city has a dark side.On Jan. 12, Baron “Scooter” Collins turned 21. Collins was killed five days later on Jan. 17. While full details have not been brought out, Reverend Randy Jewitt has shared what he does know.

Jewitt, a minister of Holland Grove Missionary Baptist Church, said that from what he’s gathered, Collins was allegedly tasered three to six times after being chased by a city police officer.

“Allegedly, (the city police) are saying that there was a bench warrant out for Collins arrest concerning the suspicion of felony drug distribution charges,” Jewitt explained. “We haven’t gotten all the details on all of that. They are not giving us any information on that.”

After Collins was confronted, he was chased into the Kay’s Food Market parking lot, where he was handcuffed. After being handcuffed, Winnfield city police officer Scott Nugen allegedly tasered Collins three to six times in front of dozens of eye witnesses, according to Jewitt.

Collins was then transported to the Winnfield City Police Department where he complained of having chest pains. Collins was then transported to the local hospital where he was pronounced dead. Jewitt said he cannot confirm whether Collins died at the police station or at the hospital.

However, one thing is clear.

“He’s not with us no more,” Jewitt said solemnly. “It’s tragic that this young man’s life was taken at the hands of a police.”

According to Jewitt, Nugen has been placed on paid administrative leave, pending the results of the investigation and the autopsy. Nugen has said that the city is following protocol, but he is still angered by the slow response.

“After the incident happened, the police officer was on duty for almost two weeks,” Jewitt said. Jewitt explained that the current police chief does not have the authority to hire or fire officers nor place officers on administrative leave.

“These city ordinances need to be changed,” Jewitt said. “We need to let the police chief be in control of his own office.”

Jewitt has been immersed in the controversy since it started. Jewitt has been on KAYT 88.1 FM of Alexandria nearly everyday, trying to motivate people to take a stand against what he calls corruption in the city. Jewitt is also planning a march for Feb. 12, the third one since the incident occurred.

The march will start from Martin Luther King Drive in Winnfield and end at the town hall of Winnfield, where the city council will meet.

“We have a lot of corruption going on,” Jewitt said. “This man lost his life at the hands of a police officer that acted completely and totally out of control.”

According to Jewitt, this isn’t the first time Nugen has done this.

“There are people who have suffered at this officer before,” Jewitt explained. “He’s out of control with that thing. He’s tasered three or four more people. We’re looking into that as well.”

There have been rumors that Nugen was trying to join the Ku Klux Klan, but Jewitt said that he did not want to speculate on the rumors, just the facts.

“We’re marching in protest to what has happened,” Jewitt said. “It seems like they are constantly and persistently trying to sweep this under the rug.”

Jewitt is also calling for the eye witnesses to come forward. So far, no one has filed a statement with the police department so an investigation can be launched.

“This happened during one of the busiest hours of the day,” he said. “We have to stand so they can investigate this.”

Collins was buried Saturday, Jan. 26, nine days after the controversy began. With no end clearly in sight, Jewitt is mentally tired.

“I’m at a loss for words,” he said. “The family is just hurt. I’m just praying that the people continue to support this family in the loss. It’s tragic that this young man’s life was taken at the hands of police.