3 Sue Louisiana Pipeline Owner, Others Over Bayou Bridge Protest Arrests

Three people protesting construction of a south Louisiana oil pipeline last year were illegally arrested and assaulted, they claim in a lawsuit filed Aug. 9 against the pipeline’s owners, a security company, a sheriff and several state law enforcement officers.

The suit filed U.S. District Court in Baton Rouge is the latest concerning the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. The pipeline was completed months ago after years of court fights and protests by environmentalists.

The lawsuit says three protesters were illegally arrested while in a canoe and kayak on a navigable waterway near the pipeline site in August 2018. The suit includes allegations that the protesters were physically assaulted. It seeks an unspecified amount in damages.

Major defendants include Bayou Bridge Pipeline LLC, security company HUB Enterprises and St. Martin Parish Sheriff Ronald Theriot.

Theriot’s office declined comment on pending litigation. The other defendants did not immediately respond to emailed requests for comment.

Also listed as defendants in the suit, filed by attorneys with the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center, are more than a dozen sheriff’s deputies and state probation and parole officers who, the lawsuit says, were hired to provide security for the pipeline.

Although the pipeline is operating, litigation is ongoing. That includes a federal court challenge filed in May challenging the constitutionality of a state law that carries a possible five-year prison sentence for anyone convicted of trespassing in the area of a pipeline.