I-TEAM: Internal affairs report shows history of complaints against officer

Baton Rouge Police Department Internal Affairs reports for officer Troy Lawrence, Jr. reveals a number of complaints during his tenure with the department.
Published: Apr. 27, 2023 at 5:46 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 27, 2023 at 6:21 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Baton Rouge Police Department Internal Affairs reports for Officer Troy Lawrence, Jr. reveals a number of complaints during his tenure with the department.

Body camera video obtained by the WAFB I-TEAM shows the aftermath of a fender bender that a woman claims went off the rails because of the Baton Rouge Police Department officer who showed up, Troy Lawrence, Jr. As soon as the officer got on the scene, he muted his body camera which is a violation of BRPD policy. The woman says that is when he got aggressive.

Thomas Frampton is an attorney who represents that woman. He says his client and others who were on the scene gave similar accounts of what happened.

“Not only my client but the other women who were involved in the traffic accident and who were sort of on the other side confirmed that from the get-go, Officer Troy Lawrence, Jr. was the one who initiated the conflict, who started cursing, who was acting unprofessionally,” said Frampton.

At one point during the encounter, the officer can be seen grabbing the woman’s wrist and snatching her out of her car. Because of what happened during the situation, East Baton Rouge taxpayers paid an out-of-court settlement earlier this month for $55,000. It is not the first time Officer Lawrence is accused of crossing the line with those he is sworn to protect and serve. On New Year’s Day 2020, he was caught cursing at someone else. During that encounter, he used inappropriate language with a young man who had been pulled over earlier for a traffic stop. The officer’s body camera was not muted during that encounter.

“Hey...If you don’t shut the f*ck up....I’m going to come in there and I’m going to f*ck you up,” Lawrence Jr. is heard telling a man in the vehicle.

That man was on the phone with his mother while Lawrence, Jr. continued to berate him saying, “You think I’m playing with you? I will f*ck you up.”

The WAFB I-TEAM requested all of the complaints that have been investigated by BRPD Internal Affairs regarding Officer Troy Lawrence, Jr. Attorney Frampton calls the list of complaints concerning.

“Officer Troy Lawrence, Jr. has been suspended again and again and again and he remains on the force,” said Frampton.

WAFB’s Scottie Hunter brought those concerns to BRPD Chief Murphy Paul, asking him when does the department step in and say enough is enough.

“Oh we do address that. I think you see in our five years here there has been accountability. We look at each case but when we make a determination that an officer can no longer wear that badge, I think you’ll see that we’ve been pretty consistent with that and hole those officers accountable,” said Chief Paul.

It is worth noting that Officer Lawrence’s dad is Troy Lawrence, Sr., a high-ranking deputy chief with the department. While his father is part of the group that makes discipline decisions on behalf of officers who are accused of wrongdoing, Chief Paul says Troy Lawrence, Sr. is not involved in any of his son’s cases.

“If there’s any disciplinary issue, in that particular matter he would recuse himself and he would not be part of the board that oversees the discipline in that matter. He would not be involved in that,” said Chief Paul.

WAFB’s Scottie Hunter questioned the chief about the public’s perception of the situation given that the officer’s father is a high-ranking member of the department and whether the officer could evade serious discipline.

“No, I would disagree with that and I’ll say because I think if you look at the incidents they were investigated,” said Chief Paul. “There was no incident that was not investigated and the appropriate disciplinary action was taken if there was a violation of policies just like with any other officer.”

Based on the WAFB I-TEAM’s review of every Internal Affairs investigation into Troy Lawrence, Jr., he has faced a number of complaints not only from members of the public but also from his own fellow officers.

One of the complaints came in July 2021. According to the investigative documents, Officer Lawrence was working extra duty in Tigerland near Fred’s Bar when he got into an argument with one of his supervisors. That supervisor asked Officer Lawrence to put his lights on and move his unit up to block traffic. Officer Lawrence refused to follow those orders.

When the supervisor asked again, reminding him of his rank, the investigative documents show Lawrence told the supervisor, “I don’t give a f**k who you are.” The report shows Officer Lawrence was suspended for 25 days for that incident.

In a separate complaint last year, Officer Lawrence was working extra duty again in Tigerland when he got into another argument with a supervisor. This time things escalated quickly. The report reveals at one point, Officer Lawrence pulled off his vest and threatened to fight the supervisor, even telling him, “Let’s go or meet me behind Mike’s Bar”. According to the report, several witnesses, including college students were present at the time of the encounter. When the supervisor refused to fight and got into his car, the report shows Officer Lawrence got so mad he called the supervisor derogatory names and twisted the mirror of the supervisor’s unit 180 degrees.

According to the official investigative report, when he was interviewed about Officer Lawrence the supervisors, who has more than 20 years of experience with the force told investigators, “I would not be comfortable working in the presence of Officer Lawrence because I don’t know what he is capable of.” There is no indication in the report that Lawrence was disciplined for that incident.

“I’m genuinely scared that someone’s going to end up maimed or killed by Officer Troy Lawrence before anyone actually thinks about doing something to take his badge and gun away,” said attorney Frampton.

WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked Chief Paul about the officer’s behavior and he says Officer Lawrence is currently the only officer enrolled in the department’s Early Intervention of EIS program. It is designed to monitor officers more closely to make sure they are following policy.

“We try to adjust the behavior. We try to see how we can further invest in our investments but if it’s so egregious and gets to that point where they no longer can serve, I can make those decisions and I have,” said Chief Paul.

“We still see this complete indifference to ongoing misconduct and it really makes you wonder if this is a case about a bad apple or a complete institutional breakdown,” attorney Frampton added.

WAFB did attempt to contact Officer Troy Lawrence, Jr. through the union he’s affiliated with. A spokesperson for that union said they did not have a comment on this report.

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