Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office is sued by the ACLU of Louisiana

Logan Ridenour

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Louisiana sued the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office on August 21 regarding the unlawful detainment of Ramon Torres.

Ramon Torres, a United States citizen, was held at the sheriff's office jail for more than three days, according to the complaint filed by ACLU Louisiana.

Nearly a year ago on August 31, 2018, Torres was arrested under suspicion of driving while intoxicated. The Louisiana 23rd Judicial District Court ordered the plaintiff to be released on September 1, 2018. Torres was not initially released on the date ordered.

On that day a co-worker reached out to the Sheriff's Office for further information. He was advised to send documentation proving that Torres was a citizen.

"Mr. Moore [co-worker] sent an email to Tmichel Doe at the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office informing its officers that Mr. Torres is a citizen of the United States of America," stated the complaint filed by ACLU.

In this email were copies of Torres's social security card, certificate of naturalization, birth certificate issued by the Republic of Honduras, and his passport issued by the United States Department of State.

Following the email, Torres's co-worker again reached out to the Sheriff's Office and was told that Torres was being held until they received clearance from the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

"On information and belief, the Defendants jailed Mr. Torres pursuant to APSO's own unilateral immigration enforcement prior to any communication with ICE.

"On information and belief, ICE never requested that the jail hold Mr. Torres," the complaint filed by ACLU stated.

Torres was released from custody September 4, 2018. Among the defendants listed was Sheriff Bobby Webre.

"At 1:41 p.m. this afternoon, I was made aware for the first time of a press release issued by the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana that a lawsuit was filed against my office in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana," said Sheriff Webre on August 21, 2019.

At the time of the previous statement, Sheriff Webre had not been served the lawsuit.

"I dispute these press claims by ACLU lawyers and will offer a rigorous defense in court," said Sheriff Webre.