Justice is supposed to be blind.
It's not supposed to see what it wants to see.
Douglas Dendinger is a 47-year-old disabled Army veteran who found himself the target of an apparent police conspiracy to put him away for life — all because he handed a court summons to a cop, WWL-TV reported.
He stepped up to act as process server in August 2012 for a brutality lawsuit filed by his nephew.
Handing a summons to Chad Cassard as the former police officer exited the courthouse in Washington Parish, Louisiana, Dendinger found himself verbally attacked by the swarm of cops and lawyers nearby.
"It was like sticking a stick in a bee's nest," Dendinger recalled. "They started cursing me. They threw the summons at me. Right at my face, but it fell short. Vulgarities. I just didn't know what to think. I was a little shocked."
That was only the beginning of Dendinger's "nightmare."
Later that night, police came to Dendinger's house and arrested him, charging him with simple battery and two felonies: obstruction of justice and intimidating a witness.
Due to his prior felony cocaine conviction, Dendinger estimated the new charges could land him behind bars for up to 80 years.
The night of his arrest, Dendinger said he was mocked by police in the Washington Parish Jail. He claimed Bogalusa Police Chief Joe Culpepper went so far as to whistle the ominous theme music from "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," WWL reported.
Things got worse when seven witnesses — including two of Dendinger's prosecutors — signed statements that affirmed the cop's version of events: "[Dendinger] slapped me in the chest with a white envelope and stated, 'You been served brother.'"
Even Police Chief Culpepper said he'd witnessed Dendinger's "violence" — despite the fact that the chief also admitted he hadn't actually been outside the courthouse when the summons was served.
In the end, what saved Dendinger was the fact that his wife and nephew recorded the incident — and the videos contradicted what the police and attorneys were swearing had happened.
After a year-long fight, St. Tammany District Attorney Walter Reed was forced to recuse his office and the Louisiana Attorney General's Office dropped the case against Dendinger.
Now Dendinger is filing a federal civil rights lawsuit against Reed, his two prosecutors, the Bogalusa cops and Washington Parish Sheriff Randy "Country" Seal — and he said he's learned a frightened lesson about perversions of justice along the way.
"I didn't do anything wrong and I know they know I didn't do anything wrong," Dendinger said. "So I'm faced with the reality that these people purposely lied about something that could put me in prison for the rest of my life."
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