BRPD settles 2016 Earth Day excessive force arrest case
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The City of Baton Rouge has agreed to pay $9,000 to settle a lawsuit filed against the city as well as several Baton Rouge police officers including former officer Blane Salamoni.
The case involved a 16-year-old male who was arrested during 2016 Earth Day festivities in downtown Baton Rouge. A video of the incident, taken by a bystander, showed several officers hitting a teen who police said was resisting their efforts to detain him.
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At the time, the video was widely circulated on social media and led to calls for an official BRPD probe of the incident.
Salamoni, one of the officers involved in that incident, is the same officer who fired the shots that killed Alton Sterling in 2016. He was terminated earlier this year after Chief Murphy Paul said Salamoni had violated departmental policies in the Sterling case. Salamoni has appealed that decision and is awaiting a hearing. In the case settled Friday, a then 16-year-old male alleged he was at the 2016 Earth Day when Salamoni approached him and asked to step back from the area.
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“After Plaintiff (teen) complied, Ofc. Salamoni still grabbed Plaintiff by the arm absent any probable cause or pertinent reason to detain him,” according to a lawsuit the teen’s father filed on his behalf.
The allegations in the lawsuit go on to say:
“At that point, Ofc. Salamoni drove (the teenager) violently to the ground. Ofc. Salamoni was joined by Sgt. Bourgoyne. Sgt. Bourgoyne struck Plaintiff in the neck and face repeatedly. Ofc. Salamoni also admitted (striking) Plaintiff in the face repeatedly. Plaintiff did make attempts to protect his face and head area. However, Ofc. Salamoni and Sft. Bourgoyne, along with other officers, were actively restraining Plaintiff while repeatedly punching him in his face and head. In a video of the incident, Plaintiff can be seen stuck as many as six (6) times.” According the lawsuit, the teen required medical treatment and was taken to Our Lady of the Lake Hospital before being booked into the Juvenile Detention Center. Bourgoyne, who denied using excessive force, was initially suspended while BRPD investigated the case but the department later cleared him of any wrongdoing. All charges against the teen were later dismissed, the lawsuit says. The teens’ father filed suit against then Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie, Bourgoyne, Salamoni and three other officers listed as “unknown.”
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