BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – A former Baton Rouge police officer now faces a civil suit in addition to criminal charges over accusations that he used a stun gun on a man who was already in handcuffs and listening to another officer’s orders.
Troy Lawrence Jr., who resigned in September amid Brave Cave allegations plaguing the city police department, is named with BRPD in a lawsuit that outlines an Aug. 8 interaction that led to Lawrence’s arrest.
According to the suit, Lee Shaffers was waiting for a ride in the parking lot of Mike’s Truck Stop around 8:30 p.m. Two other men who he did not know were also in the area when the officers approached them.
One of the men fled on foot, and Lawrence chased him. The suit said that Officer Matthew Wallace, with his stun gun drawn, told Shaffers to step forward.
The suit said Wallace told Shaffers he had footage of him “conspiring to make drug transactions.” Shaffers denied it, calling the officer a liar.
Wallace handcuffed Shaffers and told him to get into the back of Lawrence’s police unit. Lawrence met them near the car without the man he’d chased.
According to the suit, Lawrence stunned Shaffers while he was trying to get his legs in the back seat of the police car.
“At the time of the tasing, Lee Shaffers was handcuffed, under control, being fully compliant and not resisting arrest in any way,” the suit said.
Shaffers was issued a misdemeanor summons for resisting arrest and was allowed to leave the scene, the suit said.
The suit claims Lawrence’s superiors were aware of his use of excessive force and cruel and unusual punishment on people he arrested but did nothing to stop it.
“Thus, Officer Lawrence’s use of excessive force and cruel and unusual punishment had been condoned by and became the policy or custom of the City of Baton Rouge through the Baton Rouge Police Department,” the suit reads.
Shaffers is asking for monetary damages that total $750,000, including physical pain and suffering, mental anguish and emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life and punitive damages.
Baton Rouge Police Lt. L’Jean McKneely said the department does not comment on pending litigation.
“We can say that BRPD has an ongoing criminal and internal investigation surrounding incidents that involved Troy Lawrence Jr.,” McKneely said.