BATON ROUGE — A Baton Rouge Police Officer has resigned as of Tuesday morning, just one day after a lawsuit was filed in federal court claiming that specific BRPD officer used a “torture warehouse.”
Multiple BRPD sources confirm Troy Lawrence Jr. put in his resignation on Aug. 29. It comes while the officer was already on administrative leave for previous alleged incidents that were also under investigation.
The lawsuit was filed in Baton Rouge in federal court on Aug. 28 by a lawyer based out of Virginia, Thomas Frampton.
Narcotics Processing Facility
Baton Rouge Police held a news conference Tuesday afternoon regarding the building. Chief Deputy Myron Daniels said the city-parish government owns the building. BRPD has been using the building as a narcotics processing facility for two decades, according to officials.
“For approximately 20 years, the narcotics processing facility has been used by various detectives within the Narcotics Division,” Daniels said. “Thousands of suspects have been processed in there over the years. The processing facility is used by several investigative sections within the Baton Rouge Police Department. This includes street crimes, other task forces, and divisions. I want to assure this community there is nothing secretive about this narcotics processing facility.”
Daniels said one unit in BRPD processed about 350 people. He said over 600 people were processed in the facility in 2022.
In the 38-page federal lawsuit, the plaintiffs laid out their allegations against BRPD Officer Troy Lawrence, Jr., “who has, time and time again, violently violated the constitutional rights of Baton Rouge citizens.” The lawsuit also says that for a number of past incidents, “Ofc. Lawrence was inadequately disciplined…” and “that Ofc. Lawrence’s conduct has been authorized, approved and ratified by Chief Murphy Paul.”
The lawsuit stems from an incident on October 8, 2022, in the parking lot outside of the emergency room at OLOL hospital. Because a family member was at the hospital after he was arrested by BRPD, there was an argument between some people in the parking lot.
Per the lawsuit, Officer Lawrence got involved and arrested Holden Sanders and Emanuel Chavis. According to the suit, Holden and Emanuel were deprived of their rights including the right to speech, improper seizure and excessive force, among other allegations.
The lawsuit also points at Officer Lawrence as being on the wrong side of the law when he allegedly hit “Ms. Chavis [Holden’s mother] multiple times with his hand”, while she was trying to de-escalate the interactions between Lawrence and Holden.
Other alleged incidents by same officer
After describing the encounter that the plaintiffs are suing for in detail, the lawsuit breaks down other allegations of misconduct allegedly at the hands of Officer Lawrence. It highlights five other incidents related to similar allegations, including two recent cases that cost taxpayer monies to settle. One of those cases settled for $55,000 and the other for $85,000, according to the suit.
The lawsuit lays the blame for Officer Lawrence’s behavior squarely at the feet of Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul, alleging that he has refused to properly discipline Officer Lawrence’s past behavior. The suit acknowledges that Chief Paul has final say on policy making and discipline within the department. The suit reads there is “institutional rot within the Baton Rouge Police Department that has repeatedly enabled dangerous behavior by Ofc. Lawrence and other violent officers like him.”
BRPD “Torture Warehouse”
The lawsuit also claims BRPD has a “torture warehouse” where Officer Lawrence allegedly took an arrestee, severely beat him and then doctored a “false police report accusing the arrestee of attempting to escape from the torture warehouse.”
That alleged incident was on Jan. 9, 2023 where 21-yr-old Jeremy Lee was arrested “without reasonable suspicion or probable cause.” The victim is said to have been “yelling in pain” while Officer Lawrence and his partner searched him. The suit claims while Lee was on the ground in handcuffs, Officer Lawrence told him “I’m about to bat the living crap out of you.”
That’s when Lee is said to have told the officer to turn on his body camera.
A crowd had formed by this time where Officer Lawrence allegedly taunted people, bragged about how much money he had, nearly got into a physical fight with others before his fellow officers had to separate Lawrence from the crowd. The suit said one officer “explicitly told him to ‘chill out’.”
At this time, Officer Lawrence is accused of taking Lee to the “torture warehouse” instead of parish prison. While at the warehouse, the officer and others “repeatedly punched and kicked Mr. Lee.” The suit says Lee was so badly beaten that East Baton Rouge Parish Prison refused to accept him. It’s why he was taken to a hospital where the suit claims he was “diagnosed with broken ribs and other physical injuries as a result of his beating.”
But then Officer Lawrence is also accused of doctoring a false police report that Lee tried fleeing from BRPD’s torture warehouse and even accused Lee was committing a battery against Officer Lawrence. However, Lawrence’s own narrative of the incident never mentions that Lee ever touched him, the suit says.
BRPD’S “long history of retaliating against critics”
The lawsuit also alleges that BRPD has a “long history of retaliating against critics and fostering a culture of impunity for police violence.”
Furthermore, the suit claims retaliation against certain persons during Chief Paul’s tenure, including against the very attorney who filed this lawsuit, Thomas Frampton. In a previous case Frampton filed against the department, in a story that received national attention related to one Clarence Green, BRPD retaliated against the lawyer and tried to have him held in contempt of court, including possible jail time. The federal judge in the matter rejected the department’s attempts and found “overwhelming evidence in this case shows that the City/Parish acted in bad faith and retaliation…” against Mr. Frampton. That cost the taxpayer’s of East Baton Rouge $85,000.
Unfiltered with Kiran has highlighted numerous incidents in a series of reports titled “Disparate Discipline” within BRPD.
Now, this lawsuit claims that internal whistleblower retaliation is very much so present within the BRPD, highlighting two previous officers, who were allegedly targeted by Chief Paul for retaliation.
Siya Creel was ultimately fired for interviewing with Unfiltered with Kiran. BRPD’s Chief Paul claimed Creel violated policies and procedures even though Creel interviewed in his capacity as the vice president of the Baton Rouge Police Union. The interview was regarding billboards the union had placed throughout the city warning citizens against the increasing crime. That union is a separate entity from BRPD and the chief has no control over it. Creel’s termination was overturned by the Municipal Fire & Police Civil Service Board. Creel chose to leave the department afterwards claiming he knew he would always have a target on his back.
John Dauthier, a 21-year veteran of the department, announced his retirement after BRPD launched their third investigation into the officer in a matter of three years. Dauthier worked in the internal affairs division under Chief Paul, but then said after he witnessed what he described as “blatantly partial doctrine of internal discipline,” he asked to be transferred out of internal affairs. He said the retaliation started soon after.
The lawsuit says “Dauthier has alleged that he was retaliated against in part because he criticized BRPD leadership, whereas other officers who were well-liked by BRPD leadership were either not disciplined or less severely disciplined for similar wrongdoing.”
There are numerous other incidents UWK highlighted where specific officers did not face any discipline due to their alleged relationships with the top cop and being fraternity brothers with members of BRPD’s top administration.
BRPD does not work with UWK and does not respond to any emails or questions regarding cases. It’s why BRPD does not have a response in this report.