Race-Motivated Stops And Seizures By Louisiana Police Terrorize Black Children

The case remains pending with pre-trial motions.

Plaintiff Wesley Pigott, a white man, is the father of two Black children, Mya and K.P. In April 2020, while driving his children home from a fishing trip, Mr. Pigott noticed he was being followed by an unmarked F-150 truck. When Mr. Pigott stopped in a parking lot, the driver of the unmarked truck immediately exited his vehicle, stood beside Mr. Pigott’s car door, and with his gun drawn commanded Mr. Pigott to “Get the [expletive] out of the truck and put your hands up!” Watching from the car, Mr. Pigott’s terrified children noticed that the driver of the truck was wearing a law enforcement uniform. K.P. pleaded “Please don’t shoot my daddy!” and Mya tried ducking to avoid being seen. When Mr. Pigott asked the officer to calm down, he responded by again pointing his gun at Mr. Pigott and telling him: “I am going to blow your head off if you turn around.”

Minutes later, a deputy of the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office arrived on the scene, patted down Mr. Pigott, and told him to continue on his way. For months after, Mya was scared to sleep alone in her own home, haunted by nightmares and emotional distress from the incident. K.P. also had significant difficulty sleeping and frequent nightmares related to the incident for several months.

Why is this a key case?

This case is just one example of the troubling pattern of law enforcement officers criminalizing children of color. Research has shown that Black children are perceived as less innocent than white children, leading to more frequent stops, prosecutions, and trials as adults. Implicit dehumanization of Black children makes them demonstrably more likely to be victims of police violence. Violent encounters with the police negatively impact mental health, and can trigger symptoms of depression and PTSD, among other pernicious effects. Incidents of perceived racial profiling adversely impact the mental health of people of color, especially among young people like K.P. and Mya.

How is RFK Human Rights supporting?

Alongside co-counsel, RFK Human Rights represents the Pigotts in a federal civil rights trial against the officer who unjustly threatened them at gunpoint.

Name of the case (as it appears in the respective legal mechanism)

Pigott v. Gintz, 1:21-CV-01015 (W.D. La. filed Apr. 16, 2021)

Month/Year of filing

April 2021

Legal mechanism in which the case is being litigated

U.S. Federal District Court, Western District of Louisiana

Rights and legal instruments alleged violated (or found to have been violated)

Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. §§1983 and 1988, United States Constitution, including the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, and the laws of the State of Louisiana

Procedural stage



Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, ACLU of Louisiana, the Law Office of Anthony Cecutti, the Law Office of Jennifer R. Louis-Jeune, Anna Sideris of Quijano Ennis & Sideris, and Howard University School of Law’s Criminal Justice Clinic