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Federal judge blasts BRPD, top lawyer

A still picture from body camera video from BRPD shows a strip search in broad daylight.
A still picture from body camera video from BRPD shows a strip search in broad daylight.(Baton Rouge Police Department)
Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 4:30 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - In a sternly worded 92-page opinion, a federal judge has blasted the Baton Rouge Police Department and one of the top lawyers at the parish attorney’s office, saying they retaliated against a lawyer tied to series of negative press reports about the police department.

U.S. District Judge John de Gravelles also said it was actually the Baton Rouge Police Department, and not the professor, who acted improperly in releasing body cam videos of a minor without first obtaining permission of the courts.

The videos, showing a Baton Rouge police officer strip-searching two males on a city street in 2020, were the focus of a series of reports by WAFB-TV and other media outlets.

Body Camera Video Obtained By The 9News Investigators

During the strip-search, an officer pulled down the underwear of adult named Clarence Green, revealing his genitals. A 16-year-old male was also strip-searched, the videos showed. A different federal judge who reviewed that search case found that the police department carried out the searches with a “serious and wanton disregard” of the Green family’s constitutional rights.

The City of Baton Rouge eventually paid a $35,000 settlement in that case. The CBS Evening News reported on the settlement last year. The following day, the City of Baton Rouge sought contempt charges against the family’s attorney.

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University of Virginia law school professor Thomas Frampton, who represented the Green family, was later accused by the BRPD of improperly releasing those videos to the media and the BRPD asked that he be held in contempt.

In a matter he says is filled with “astounding” hypocrisy, Judge de Gravelles said the BRPD acted “in bad faith and in retaliation” in seeking contempt sanctions against Frampton who committed no criminal wrongdoing.

He ordered that the motion for contempt be withdrawn.

”BRPD officers’ contempt for the constitutional rights of everyday Baton Rouge citizens, like the Green family, is jaw-dropping,” Frampton said Monday.

The judge also stated that the city-parish attorney representing the police department, Deelee Morris, gave sworn testimony in court that was “directly contradicted” by the record.

The judge found that the police department and their attorneys handed over the videos to prosecutors without first getting the legally required permission of the juvenile court. That was needed because the case involves a minor.

The judge ruled the department also did not mark the videos as confidential or place restrictions on how they were disseminated, as required by law. The City of Baton Rouge, through a spokesman, declined to comment for this report. Morris, citing pending litigation, also declined comment.

VIDEO: Attorney discusses qualified immunity for police officers following release of troubling body camera video

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