Reported by WWLTV on February 25, 2015
One of the worst days of Douglas Dendinger’s life began with him handing an envelope to a police officer…. Dendinger agreed to act as a process server, giving a brutality lawsuit filed by his nephew to Chad Cassard as the … police officer exited the Washington Parish Courthouse. The handoff went smoothly, but Dendinger said the reaction from Cassard, and a group of officers and attorneys clustered around him, turned his life upside down. ‘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.’ Not knowing what to make of the blow-up, a puzzled Dendinger drove home. That’s where things went from bad to worse. ‘Within about 20 minutes, there were these bright lights shining through my windows…. I knew immediately, a police car. And that’s when the nightmare started,’ he said…. He was booked with simple battery, along with two felonies: obstruction of justice and intimidating a witness, both of which carry a maximum of 20 years in prison…. What the officers and attorneys did not know was that Dendinger had one critical piece of evidence on his side: grainy cell phone videos shot by his wife and nephew. Dendinger said he thought of recording the scene at the last minute as a way of showing he had completed the task of serving the summons…. In the end, the two videos may have saved Dendinger from decades in prison. From what can be seen on the clips, Dendinger never touches Cassard, who calmly takes the envelope and walks back into the courthouse, handing Wall the envelope…. Dendinger spent nearly a year waiting for trial, racking up attorney’s fees. As a disabled Army veteran on a fixed income, Dendinger said the case stretched him financially, but in his eyes, he was fighting for his life. After nearly a year passed … the case was referred to the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office, which promptly dropped the charges….