Officer resigns following WAFB I-TEAM story about ‘Brave Cave’; Mayor Broome issues new statement
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - One day after the WAFB I-TEAM shed light on the ‘Brave Cave,’ an officer accused of being involved in a brutal beating at the facility has resigned.
The Baton Rouge Police Department will hold a news conference Tuesday afternoon, around 4:30 p.m. on secretive interrogation site known as “Brave Cave.”
East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome released the following statement:
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Hours after the WAFB I-TEAM shed light on a Baton Rouge Police Department interrogation facility known to some officers as the ‘Brave Cave,’ East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Broome is speaking out and Chief of Police Murphy Paul has launched a comprehensive investigation.
In a statement released late Monday night, the mayor said the allegations brought to light in the report “deeply concern” her and other Baton Rouge residents.
“Over the past seven years, we have worked to build trust between our community and the police. We have made great strides, but the work continues. In light of this, Chief Paul is conducting an impartial and comprehensive investigation into the matter,” wrote Mayor Broome.
The WAFB I-Team first reported on the ‘Brave Cave’ after an attorney claimed his client was brutally beaten inside that room which the attorney described as a ‘torture warehouse’ and a ‘black site.’
The ‘Brave Cave’ is a place WAFB had never heard of until now and when initially reached for comment, some of BRPD’s own leaders claimed they had never heard of the building either.
Earlier Monday, August 28, 2023, WAFB asked a BRPD spokesman about the Brave Cave. At first, he said he had never heard of the place and would look into it.
Within the hour, he called back telling WAFB the facility was formerly a processing center for suspects in BRPD’s first district. The spokesman added that the building has more recently been used by narcotics and street crimes officers for certain interrogations.
The spokesman later released the following statement.
“Baton Rouge Police Narcotics and Street Crimes Team sometimes use a separate processing area for prisoner intake. This area is located behind our 1st District Uniform Patrol building. That building was used prior to BRPD HQ, located at 9000 Airline Hwy, and was used as a detective office that housed the Narcotics, Armed Robbery, Burglary, and Latent Prints Division. This area is equipped with multiple cameras, both inside and out, interview rooms, and a prisoner processing area.”
While BRPD officials claim the ‘Brave Cave’ has cameras, video of police activities inside of the building that has been requested by both the WAFB I-TEAM and the attorney was not provided or does not exist. That includes video the attorney says would show an officer who has been at the center of several I-Team reports, Troy Lawrence Jr., and other officers beating his client, Jeremy Lee.
In her statement, the mayor also addressed the I-Team’s extensive reporting into violent arrests involving Lawrence Jr., who has been placed on administrative leave.
“BRPD investigations must fall within the guidelines of the law enforcement bill of rights, LRS 40:2531 — Rights of Law Enforcement Officers. Officer Lawrence has been on administrative leave due to an internal affairs investigation. To the Baton Rouge community: I ask that you await the results of the investigation and allow the evidence to guide our understanding and actions,” wrote Broome.
A federal lawsuit has also been filed on behalf of the man who was allegedly beaten by officers inside the ‘Brave Cave.’ The lawsuit states that Lee was beaten so badly that officials at East Baton Rouge Parish Prison refused to take him until he had been seen at a hospital. According to the lawsuit, Lee was treated for a fractured rib and other injuries.
BRPD officials did not discuss details from the case or provide additional video requested by WAFB, citing the legal case the department now faces.
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