Baton Rouge Police investigating after video shows officer with arm around teenager’s neck during arrest

Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome addressed the incident in a statement

Louise Hall
Tuesday 23 February 2021 13:49
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<p>In footage that was widely shared following the incident, an officer can be seen restraining a boy on the ground before sitting him up and putting his hands behind his back</p>

In footage that was widely shared following the incident, an officer can be seen restraining a boy on the ground before sitting him up and putting his hands behind his back

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Baton Rouge police are investigating after a video surfaced online of the arrest of a teenager - during which a police officer pinned the 13-year-old to the ground with his arm under his neck.

In the footage, which was widely shared following the incident, an officer can be seen restraining the boy on the ground before sitting him up and putting his hands behind his back.

Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome said on Monday that the footage had prompted her to contact the city’s chief of police, Murphy Paul, regarding the situation.

“Chief Paul has assured me the reformed system that has been implemented under our leadership will allow for a prompt transparent review of this incident,” she said in the statement.

The mayor said in a press conference on Monday that no decision had been made regarding whether officers involved would face disciplinary action.

Ms Broome reportedly said that she and Mr Paul have reviewed the police-worn body camera footage of the incident, the broadcaster said.

Mr Paul said that officers had responded to two disturbance calls on Sunday and that officers deescalated the situation at the call and no arrests were made.

However, a second call less than an hour later was said to have led to two juveniles being taken into custody.

The family’s lawyer, civil rights attorney Ron Haley, Jr, said the teenager was arrested and charged with battery of a police officer and has been released into the custody of his parents.

The lawyer said that he had viewed the body camera video on Monday evening and said that it portrayed a more complete version of the incident.

The social media clip does not show what happened before or after the incident. Mr Haley said that he appreciates the community is distressed by what could be excessive force used on a child he noted it was important to wait for the body camera footage

"I am asking for patience until the footage is released,” Mr Haley said, adding that the ongoing situation was “a lot of pressure to put on a young person.”

“The videos of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Trayford Pellerin, and countless others that have sparked this moment of change also create a heightened sense of angst and anxiety when it comes to interaction with law enforcement,” he said.

The lawyer commended the city’s police chief “for being consistent when it comes to these critical incidents” and insisted that he would be seeking full transparency from the department.

He said: "It’s been 24 hours and the department has gotten information to the parents and attorneys and we have viewed the video."

The incident is under investigation to determine whether any policies were violated by the officer, who is not currently facing any kind of disciplinary action or leave, Mr Paul said.

“Baton Rouge Police Department officers have hundreds of encounters that we never hear of because they go without incident,” the mayor-president said in her statement.

“Yet, it is incumbent on me to use my role as Mayor to bring attention to those that are questionable in order to help build public trust and ultimately encourage the best policing tactics from our officers.”

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