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Family, NAACP call for investigation into 2013 death during police raid

Published: Jun. 14, 2021 at 12:59 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 11:32 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Dozens of people formed a circle at Galvez Plaza over the weekend praying and calling for “Justice for Trun,” a man who died in 2013 during an encounter with Baton Rouge Police Department (BRPD) narcotics detectives.

The NAACP organized the rally alongside family members of Dontrunner “Trun” Robinson.

He died after reportedly swallowing drugs while BRPD narcotics detectives carried out a search warrant at a house on Flag Street. His mother, who lived next door, recounted the last time she saw and spoke to her son.

“My son crawled to the door, he threw his body against the door, and he said, ‘Mama, help me,’” said Casa Robinson-Bean. “He told me he couldn’t breathe.”

Dontrunner “Trun” Robinson
Dontrunner “Trun” Robinson(WAFB)

RELATED: Man dies during execution of search warrant

The East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office said in 2013, that “no foul play” was detected but family members want the case reopened because of additional injuries mentioned on the autopsy.

“I think we have a lot of blame that can be tossed around,” said Eugene Collins, Baton Rouge president of the NAACP. “Why did they seem fit to clear these officers of any wrongdoings?”

Several graphic photos of Robinson taken after he died were shared online over the weekend. They appear to show heavy bruising on his head, neck, shoulders, and chest believed to be a result of blunt force leading family members to question how he died.

CLICK HERE to view the photos. WARNING: The images are graphic.

Family members said they saw the photos for the first time Friday, June 11, 2021.

“Somebody has to do something. They’ve let this slip through their fingers for eight years,” added Robinson-Bean.

NAACP named Sgt. Drew White as the officer who allegedly beat Robinson during the search. White’s name is listed on the police report as an officer involved in the search but The Advocate reports White was cleared of wrongdoing after an internal investigation into the Flag Street incident. White was reassigned to uniform patrol following a separate internal investigation of the BRPD narcotics unit.

RELATED: BRPD reassigns 4 narcotics officers amid ongoing probe

The family also claims Robinson and White had a prior run-in months before his death that ended in Robinson getting a black eye.

The family’s representing attorney, Ron Haley, said in order for charges to come, they will have to come from the district attorney’s office. He added the officer’s bill of rights won’t allow BRPD to take this specific case to court.

“The DA’s office can look at what happened and take this to a grand jury,” said Haley.

Officer Jeremiah Ardoin, who was charged as part of the misconduct investigation but was not part of the Flag Street search, has reportedly been cooperating with investigators since resigning and has been blowing the whistle on other wrong-doings within the department.

RELATED: THE INVESTIGATORS: Former officer arrested third time tied to potential corruption within BRPD narcotics division

Ardoin is said to have tipped off BRPD about internal jokes within the narcotics division and called out Sgt. White for his alleged involvement. According to The Advocate, detectives dubbed the incident, “The Flag Street Massacre.”

Robinson’s family members are asking city and state leaders to take action against those involved in what they’re calling a cover-up of the events leading to Dontrunner Robinson’s death.

Robinson-Bean said she’s forgiven the officers but she wants to see more done. Robinson’s wife also filed a wrongful death lawsuit back in 2014 claiming BRPD officers beat him during the search.

“I forgive him. In order for this to work for me and get some relief, I forgive Drew but something else needs to happen,” said Bean.

The 9News Investigators have filed a number of investigative reports into claims of misconduct within the BRPD narcotics unit.

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