Attorneys weigh in
Jancy Hoeffel, a professor in criminal law and constitutional criminal procedure at Tulane University Law School, and Dane Ciolino, a criminal law professor at Loyola University Law School, viewed the video and weighed in on some of the legal questions about the arrest, including whether the deputy had the right to enter Breaux's residence.
From just the video, Ciolino said there doesn't appear to have been any exceptions to the Fourth Amendment, which protects citizens against warrantless searches of their person, house or property. Such exceptions include emergencies in which the deputy suspects his entry is necessary to protect the public or preserve evidence.
"Here, there's nothing like that," he said. He later added, "What the officer probably should have done was gone and gotten a warrant for the guy's arrest."
Hoeffel said residents don't have to allow an officer to enter their home, show identification or cooperate unless the officer is engaging in a lawful investigation or a lawful arrest. The question is whether the arrest was lawful and the officer had probable cause.
A 911 call does not necessarily give an officer probable cause in a case. But if a neighbor is able to explain a claim of a criminal behavior, such as disturbing the peace, then an officer can go and make an arrest, according to Hoeffel.
"That's probable cause," she said. "You don't have to get the other person's side, but you should."
The law allows citizens to resist an unlawful arrest. "It's hard for a citizen to know if a lawful arrest is occurring if they don't know what they're being arrested for," Hoeffel said.
The Sheriff's Office said the deputy did inform Breaux that he was under arrest for resisting an officer. But Breaux can be heard several times in the video asking why he was being taken into custody.
Under the Louisiana code of criminal procedure, citizens also have the right to be informed of three things: the officer's intention to make an arrest, the authority to arrest the person and the cause of the arrest.
But a citizen cannot declare an arrest unlawful and resist just because they haven't been informed of the reason for their arrest. "You can't have citizens second-guessing whether the officer has probable cause," Hoeffel said.
It has to be absolutely clear that the officer has no basis to make an arrest as opposed to guessing that he has no basis. That doesn't appear to the case with the incident in River Ridge, according to Hoeffel. Still, she said it's just good policy to inform a citizen of the reason for an arrest.
"The tape shows you exactly why the officer should follow that policy. It's safer for the officer and the citizen," she said.
Hoeffel counsels youths about their rights, but she said she tells them to cooperate, in the moment
"Cooperate now, litigate later," she said. "I admire people who stand up for their rights. At the same time, it's for their safety. In general, things only get worse if you don't cooperate."