BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — The Baton Rouge Police Department gave an update Friday morning on the latest developments in the administrative and criminal investigation tied to Brave Cave allegations.
BRPD Chief Murphy Paul called Baton Rouge an “amazing city with more wins than losses” before addressing a heated exchange he had with the Metro Council Wednesday. One council member issued a statement calling for the chief to resign immediately.
“But I do not apologize for standing up for what is right. Although my passion may have offended some, that was not my intention,” he said before sharing details of the Brave Cave investigation.
In August of this year, Paul said he assigned the intelligence unit to investigate a complaint from a citizen about a September 28, 2020 incident involving Street Crimes Unit officers in a bathroom at a precinct on Plank Road. Officers are accused of strip-searching and tasing a man who was an arrestee. According to arrest documents, one officer is accused of striking the man while he wasn’t wearing any clothes and “did not pose a threat to officers.”
A body camera recorded the incident, Paul said.
“The officers didn’t realize that the body camera was on until after the incident,” according to Paul.
An investigation found that a supervisor believed the footage showed policy violations involving excessive force before telling an officer to get rid of the video evidence so it couldn’t be downloaded. A coverup was planned, Paul said.
Arrest warrants were issued for four officers Thursday.
Deputy Chief Troy Lawrence Sr., 49, was charged with principal to simple battery, principal to obstruction of justice, malfeasance in office and principal to theft.
Sgt. Jesse Barcelona, 47, was charged with principal to obstruction of justice, malfeasance in office and principal to theft.
Cpl. Todd Thomas, 32, was charged with theft, obstruction of justice, malfeasance in office and simple battery.
A fourth officer, Douglas Chutz, faces a charge of malfeasance in office.
“True reform requires a close look at our practices, our policies as well as our culture,” Paul said.
There are a total of nine administrative investigations ongoing.
Paul, who’s resignation was announced in July, will continue to lead the police department through November.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating allegations, asking anyone with information contact the New Orleans office at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) or alert them online at tips.fbi.gov.