LAWSUIT: BRPD officer may have arrested alleged domestic abuse victim instead of perpetrator

LAWSUIT: BRPD officer may have arrested alleged domestic abuse victim instead of perpetrator
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A lawsuit filed Monday, Sept. 16 claims an officer with the Baton Rouge Police Department (BRPD) erroneously arrested a woman who had been abused instead of the man accused of the September 2018 abuse.

An affidavit of probable cause states the officer was dispatched to an apartment on S Sherwood Forest Boulevard due to a disturbance. That officer initially made contact with the man, who told the officer the woman clawed at his neck. The officer noted in the affidavit he “observed visible signs on [the man’s] neck area.”

The officer then spoke with the woman, who told him she was upset with the man due to him drinking and other women calling his phone, the affidavit states.

However, the lawsuit paints a different picture.

In the filing, the woman’s attorney writes, “[The woman] stated to officers that when she mentioned that another woman was messaging and calling his phone that [the man] became angry and attacked her, pulling out a chunk of her hair, clawing at her face, neck, and chest, and leaving [the woman] with a busted and swollen lip, bruises on her arm, and bloody scratches on her chest and nipple.”

In the lawsuit, attorney Jennifer Prescott claims body camera footage shows the entire exchange, which includes the man initially being handcuffed and placed in a unit, released, and later, her female client being arrested for domestic abuse.

Court records obtained by WAFB show the charge was eventually dismissed by a city prosecutor. In the filing, the attorney states when motioning for the dismissal, the city prosecutor cited evidence showing the woman was the victim, not the perpetrator.

“My client’s life was turned upside down when she was wrongfully arrested for domestic abuse battery,” Prescott told WAFB Monday, Sept. 23. “Thankfully, the prosecutor recognized that my client was in fact the victim of domestic abuse and dismissed all charges. Arrests, especially for suspicion of domestic violence, carry a strong stigma with employers, lenders, lessors, and the like, even without convictions.”

WAFB has reached out to BRPD for comment.

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