BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Baton Rouge Police Department released a series of videos on Tuesday, July 14 showing portions of the July 6 arrest of a teenager following a vehicle pursuit.
The teenager was a passenger in a vehicle that led police on a nearly hour-long chase.
Dashcam video of the incident starts with a wild car chase. A newly released video shows a BRPD unit racing through neighborhoods right on the tail of a red car. One of four new videos released by the Baton Rouge Police Department paint a clearer picture of what happened when an officer used a knee to pin down a 17-year-old during an arrest on July, 6.
A bystander’s video of the arrest of the teenage passenger went viral, with some claiming the video appeared to show one of the arresting officers placing his knee on the teenager’s neck.
BRPD Chief Murphy Paul held a news conference Monday, disputing that, and promising to release police body camera footage of the incident.
EDITOR’S NOTE: WAFB has combined all four of the videos into one which can be viewed above. Each individual video is also available below.
Paul said the officer’s knee was on the teenager’s back, and not his neck. The videos released Tuesday appeared to support the chief’s claim.
In one of the videos, taken from a police bodycam, the teenager appeared to immediately comply with police commands that he lay down flat on the ground. Officers then held him down and handcuffed him before standing him back up again. That entire process lasted 24 seconds.
Later in the video, the teen can be heard telling officers he has asthma as one of the officers can be heard responding with cursing.
"I have asthma," the teen said.
“I don’t give a damn,” one of the officers responded.
Ron Haley, the teen's attorney, says there is no reason his client should have been treated that way. He believes the 17-year-old was never a threat.
"You don't get much more submissive than that," said Haley. "Why was he handled in such a rough manner?"
The attorney also alleges his client was treated differently than the other guy who was arrested. That guy was the one who was actually driving the car and leading officers on the chase. Bodycam video of the arrests shows the driver walking up to officers for a time before finally getting on the ground. Haley is just asking why his client ended up with a knee on his back.
“There was no reason whether the training manual says it’s okay to do it or not, to treat him in such a way and if the training manual says it’s okay to do that then that training manual is wrong,” said Haley.
Paul said the technique used by the officer is something that is approved and taught to officers in the Baton Rouge Police Academy. The chief has vowed that the department will get to the bottom of exactly what happened and, if necessary, take action.
"If there is an officer who cannot effectively be a Baton Rouge police officer, I will be the first to terminate that officer," said chief Paul.
While no decision has been made on the officers involved, two of them are on paid leave as the chief promises the public a thorough investigation.
“I will stand for transparency and accountability,” Chief Paul said.
Police released footage bodycam footage from two different officers that captured the arrest of the teen. The agency also released a dashcam video showing portions of the prior pursuit.
An attorney representing the teenager and his family says his client was cooperative and there was no need for police to use any force in arresting him. The teenager exited the vehicle, got onto his knees, and placed his hands in the air before being taken into custody.
He was later charged with principal to aggravated flight, principal to aggravated criminal damage to property, possession of schedule 1 drugs, and no seatbelt.
Police began pursuing the vehicle over an apparent seatbelt violation.
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