A former Tulane University contract employee who was shot by officers after he reportedly exposed himself to a fellow staffer has accused the New Orleans school and its police department of using excessive force for allegedly ambushing him while his young child was in the car, court papers show.
Taivon Aples claimed in a civil lawsuit filed earlier this month that he was set up by a co-worker from Sodexo -- for whom he worked through Tulane University -- when he showed up at the school to pick up his final paycheck and was stopped by campus police who ultimately shot him.
A Tulane University spokesperson told Fox News they could not comment on pending litigation but pointed to Aples’ Orleans Parish criminal record, noting, “Mr. Aples has been charged with multiple crimes arising from this case including obscenity, aggravated assault on a police officer with a vehicle and resisting arrest by flight.”
Aples, now 28, was fired from his job working for the dining services company on campus on Aug. 23, 2019, after he allegedly exposed his groin to a co-worker and began masturbating at an office inside one of the school buildings, NOLA.com reported, citing campus police. Aples reportedly told the employee, “don’t f------ do anything” after the man began to phone the police. He later left the office.
Between that time and Sept. 6, 2019, the date of the shooting, police received an arrest warrant for Aples on charges of simple assault and obscenity.
The lawsuit alleges that a TUPD lieutenant and the Sodexo employee “hatched a plan to arrest [Aples] in the service alley between the Hertz Building on Tulane’s campus and [a] parking garage under the pretense that [the Sodexo employee] would not only be tendering [Aples’] last paycheck but also conducting an ‘exit interview.’”
But Aples claims he let the Sodexo employee know ahead of time that he would have his son, a juvenile, in the car with him at the time.
A Sodexo employee declined to comment when contacted by Fox News.
Police were “lying in wait in a nearby parking garage” waiting for Aples to leave after his exit interview, the lawsuit states.
Police tried to use their guns to break the windows in the vehicle, the lawsuit states, but Aples was able to back out of the service alley where he had parked.
He then put the car in gear and drove away, at which point a TUPD detective “fired multiple rounds into the passenger side of [Aple’s] vehicle, where [his child] was visibly sitting for all officers to see, striking Plaintiff in the abdomen,” the suit states.
According to NOLA.com, police shot Aples after he drove his vehicle at them. The report adds that he allegedly got scared when a truck – described in the lawsuit as an unmarked vehicle belonging to one of the detectives – tried to close his car in.
After getting away, Aples crashed with another vehicle and a third driver took him and his son to the hospital, according to the report.
Aples’ child was not hurt in the shooting or the subsequent crash. Nonetheless, he accuses the TUPD officers of using excessive force and the department of failing “to properly train its officers.” The lawsuit also alleges that Tulane “failed to properly train and/or supervise TUPD.”
In addition to the simple assault and obscenity charges, Aples was hit with aggravated assault with a motor vehicle upon police, obscenity, resisting officers with force, and simple assault, the report states. He entered a not guilty plea and is out on a $14,500 bond.