Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman announced at a press conference today that a warrant has been issued for the arrest of Lateefa Marshall, a former sheriff's deputy who is accused of initiating a fight with an inmate and subsequently filing a false report about the incident.
On March 29, Marshall allegedly struck an inmate at the Orleans Parish Jail on the chest and head, leaving the inmate bruised. Marshall is charged with simple battery and malfeasance, and she was suspended from her duties as deputy within 24 hours of the fight. She was released from the department earlier this week.
Marshall, who had been working for the department a little over a year, is at large.
"We don’t tolerate that conduct," Gusman said. "We presented it to the District Attorney and as I’ve said before, it has resulted in the issuance of an arrest warrant."
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro commended the sheriff and his deputies for moving swiftly to investigate and prosecute Marshall. "In this Parish jail...there are approximately 2,000 people who are presently being housed," he said. "The overwhelming majority of those individuals will be released back to the streets of our societ y... It is important for those individuals who are in custody to not have to be concerned about their physical safety so that they can’t concentrate on their rehabilitation … From my perspective, to a deputy that has betrayed the trust that has been placed in him or her, who would go about and abuse an individual who is in that jail, we will prosecute that person aggressively. We will go after them and we will do everything we can to get that person out of the criminal justice system."
The incident is the latest in a long string of inmate abuse complaints since Hurricane Katrina. Gusman explained that this particular case was handled quicker than most because of the number of witnesses involved. The fight between Marshall and the inmate was reviewed on surveillance footage shortly after the former deputy submitted a falsified report of the incident.