LPSO News Blog
3/26/2014 by Brennan Matherne
Lafourche Parish Sheriff announced a deputy was injured at the Lafourche Parish Detention Center during one of two incidents involving the same inmate over the weekend. Inmate Jerry Cleveland Jr. (B/M, D.O.B. 04/30/95) of Raceland faces three additional battery charges following the incidents.
At around 4:45 p.m. on Sunday, March 23, two deputies were escorting Cleveland to a nearby cell due to the toilet in his cell not functioning. As deputies opened the door to the other cell, Cleveland struck another inmate occupying that cell in the head which resulted in the other inmate’s head hitting the cell bars, knocking him unconscious. Cleveland attempted to strike the inmate again, but deputies intervened. A struggle ensued, and the two deputies and Cleveland all fell to the ground. During the fall, Deputy Steven Pitts struck his head on a toilet inside the cell. Additional deputies arrived to assist and immediately restrained Cleveland. Deputy Pitts and the inmate whom Cleveland struck were both transported to a local hospital by ambulance for treatment. Deputy Pitts was treated for a severe laceration to the head requiring several stitches and staples, and he was subsequently released. The inmate was treated and released back into jail custody.
Cleveland was charged with two counts of Second Degree Battery in Sunday’s incident. He was also charged with Battery of a Police Officer on Saturday, March 22, after punching a deputy in the face and attempting to strangle him while he was being escorted from a shower facility.
Sheriff Webre applauded the efforts of the deputies involved and expressed his concern about these types of incidents. “All deputies understand the risks involved with their careers, but these attacks are a direct result of deficiencies in our jail facility,” said Sheriff Webre. “The jail’s antiquated ‘block’ design does not allow constant oversight, and we continue to have serious plumbing issues throughout the facility. Whether it’s a veteran officer or someone fresh out of the training academy, our correctional officers face these types of problems every day, and it’s always unfortunate when incidents escalate to this level. These are clear examples of why it’s imperative that we provide the safer jail that is needed for Lafourche Parish.”
Deputy Pitts stated a lack of sufficient lighting in the cells made the situation of dealing with high-risk inmates even more dangerous. Pitts, 44, has served as a law enforcement officer since 1999.
Cleveland was initially arrested on March 8, 2013, at the age of 16 for allegedly raping and robbing a woman at gunpoint along with Devon Richard (B/M, D.O.B. 06/23/94) of 535 Triple Oaks, Darrel Thomas (B/M, D.O.B. 01/30/95), both of Raceland. Richard and Thomas confessed to their involvements and pled guilty. They are serving respective sentences of 35 and 30 years. Cleveland, who is being prosecuted as an adult in the case, is scheduled for a pre-trial conference on March 31, 2014. He is currently being held in lieu of $657,700 bond stemming from charges of charges of Aggravated Rape, Armed Robbery, two counts of Second Degree Battery, two counts of Battery of a Police Officer, two counts of Battery of a Correctional Facility Employee, two counts of Resisting an Officer with Force or Violence, two counts of Simple Battery, Simple Assault and Simple Criminal Damage to Property.