BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Leaders at the top of the Baton Rouge Police Department are facing criticism over how they’re handling the investigation into an encounter between LSU wide receiver Koy Moore and three officers.
The situation unfolded in November 2020 and Moore tweeted about the encounter, saying he felt violated by the officers.
Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome is now speaking out one day after the officers were cleared, saying body camera video from the incident should be released according to BRPD policy. When asked about a timeline for the release of the video, a spokesman for the mayor’s office did not have an exact timeframe and referred WAFB to BRPD. The mayor did praise the handling of the case in a statement, saying Chief Murphy Paul has handled the issue with transparency and open communication from the beginning of the case.
Chris Stewart, executive director for the Louisiana Law Enforcement Association, calls it anything but transparent. While leadership within the department met with Moore and his family in the early days of the investigation, Stewart says the public has largely been left in the dark.
“If we’re going to work off of transparency and being upfront and forward with the public, it’s got to work both ways,” he said.
Stewart was asked if at this point it would be beneficial for the department to at least come out and say the officers were cleared and the investigation is over. So far, the agency has not done that.
“If I was an officer in that situation or any officer that worked for BRPD, I would be anxious to get that cleared because it’s like this imaginary cloud floating around over these officers because, okay, we need some support from our administration to say this is not exactly how this went down,” Stewart added.
Days after Moore’s tweet about the incident where he claimed he was violated went viral, those officers were placed on leave while the case was investigated. They were put back on restrictive duty about a month later but the department has said very little about the case. Despite several requests from the 9News Investigators, the department has also refused to make the video public.
It is something Stewart says should have been done months ago. He said he does not understand what is delaying the release of the video and he believes every day that it remains shielded from the public, a question mark remains over the case.
“I don’t know. It just paints a picture of some kind of deceptive means and maybe it is and maybe it’s not but it needs to be disclosed. There’s no reason for it,” Stewart explained.
Top leadership officials at BRPD are also facing new criticism from the attorneys representing Moore. In a statement, they slammed the process, saying the officers’ fates were decided in a closed-door hearing that they were not notified about. One of the officers was completely cleared while the other two were given a letter of caution for language used at the scene.
Moore’s attorneys also say Moore had a gun pulled on him during the encounter, adding that “his first ever encounter with police fell well outside of the conduct expected from police officers.” The 9News Investigators have highlighted several instances where the department has released video when facing questions over its practices. One such video was released in July 2020 when officers shot and killed a man they say pulled a gun on them inside a Tigerland apartment. BRPD released that video hours after the encounter.
The agency put out another video a few weeks before that incident when facing questions about a controversial arrest of a teenager.
While the department has explained it has policies in place where it can release certain videos at certain times, Stewart says it just leaves a lot of questions for the public when the video that shows what happened with Koy Moore hasn’t been released more than four months later and after the investigation has wrapped up.
“It seems transparent only when it benefits one side and that’s not transparency,” Stewart added.
The mayor said the video of what really happened will be released but it is still unknown when that will occur. When questioned about it, the mayor’s office did not have a timeline. BRPD was also contacted and while an exact timeline was not given, the department said not to expect it Thursday, March 11.
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