BRPD not transparent or responsive in teen video probe, attorney claims

Updated: Mar. 11, 2021 at 11:04 AM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Nearly three weeks after the mayor promised a prompt and transparent review, an attorney representing a teenager in a Baton Rouge Police Department (BRPD) investigation is still waiting for answers.

A video of last month’s encounter appears to show a BRPD officer restraining the 13-year-old by putting his arm around the back of the teen’s neck.

RELATED: Mayor Broome, BRPD Chief asks judge to release body camera footage of incident involving juvenile

When the video surfaced on February 21, 2021, Mayor Sharon Weston Broome referred to the incident as a “concerning encounter” and said she had instructed Police Chief Murphy Paul to investigate.

But attorney Bryan Fisher, who is representing the teen, says he is being stonewalled.

“Unfortunately, the BRPD has not provided the promised transparency on this case, Fisher said this week. “We have viewed videotape, selected by the BRPD, for approximately 30 minutes. The viewed videotape segments were queued and narrated by BRPD representatives present at the viewing. We were not allowed to view any additional videotape, listen to any dispatch or officer communications nor listen to any calls or view any evidence which resulted in the BRPD dispatch to the scene or the actions of the officers at the scene. Rather, we were advised after the limited viewing that the conference room was needed for another purpose and escorted out of the department. The videotape I viewed was disturbing and demands further investigation. So much for transparency,” Fisher added.

Fisher told WAFB-TV that he has sent two emails to BRPD asking to see the rest of the videos but did not receive a response.

A BRPD spokesman said Thursday the department did receive those emails and are in the process of setting up another meeting.

The officer seen on the video remains on the force.

The mayor’s office asked a judge to allow the city to publicly release the video. The request had to go before a judge because the case involves a juvenile.

“At the present moment, the courts have denied the release due to sensitivities concerning the age of the juvenile.” Broome said on February 25. “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,” Broome said. “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,” Broome said.

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