Judge denies release of BRPD video in Sunday incident

Updated: Feb. 25, 2021 at 2:44 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A judge has denied a request to publicly release police bodycam footage of last weekend’s incident involving a 13-year-old boy, a spokesman for East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome said Thursday.

A brief video of the encounter, taken with a cell phone and shared on social media, appears to show a Baton Rouge police officer with his arm around the back of the teen’s neck.

Bryan Fisher, an attorney representing the teenager and his family, said Thursday he is still waiting to get a copy of the police videos to view in private.”

Chief Paul has offered me and my clients the opportunity to view some of the BRPD footage at the (police) department,” Fisher said. “I do not think it is in the interests of my clients, including a 13-year-old, to view the video in that environment. It is imperative that we view the footage in an environment that ensures the privacy and safety of my clients and respects the privacy of other children depicted in the footage.”

Fisher said he believes Chief Paul will honor his request.

During a news conference Monday, Broome said the court would be asked to release the video so that their investigation into the incident could be as transparent as possible.

The court’s permission was needed since a juvenile is involved.

“We will not skirt around any issues,” Broome said Monday. “I will make sure this is thoroughly investigated. The chief, since he’s been on board, has not shied away from any tough issues.”

“The internal review of the incident is ongoing,” said Broome spokesman Mark Armstrong Thursday. “We hope to give an update soon.”

The officer shown in the video remains on the force.

The following statement is from Mayor Broome’s office:

“In an effort to keep the lines of communication open with the public, I want to provide an update about the ongoing investigation concerning BRPD and a juvenile member of the community.

As you know, an internal affairs investigation was launched and a petition was filed to seek the public release of the body cam footage. At the present moment, the courts have denied the release due to sensitivities concerning the age of the juvenile. The full context of the encounter can only be ascertained when one has seen the full video. Understandably, because a juvenile is involved, the public won’t get that opportunity.

This will not stop our efforts to be transparent and accountable throughout the process. It is imperative the public understands that this encounter and its happenings are not limited to what has been published on social media. There is actually a voluminous amount of video and corresponding evidence.

As I have said before, I trust Chief Paul and am confident he is conducting an exhaustive investigation of the incident.

As your Mayor-President I am committed to truth. My administration works daily to make sure every citizen in our city is heard. This is not the conclusion of this chapter. However, I did not want to end the week without giving everyone an update.”

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