Man arrested in 2020 shooting death allowed to enroll in BRPD Academy

BATON ROUGE — Keagan Valdry, a man who was arrested by Baton Rouge Police three years ago for negligent homicide, is now enrolled in the BRPD Academy with the intention of becoming an officer, according to multiple sources who have confirmed the information to UWK. Valdry began his training at the Baton Rouge Police Academy on September 25, 2023.

Valdry, now 26, was arrested for the accidental shooting death of Quainnesha Paul, 18, on April 14, 2020, according to court records. It was around 1 a.m. when BRPD officers responded to a shooting on Lake Sherwood Ave., just off S. Sherwood Forest Blvd.

BRPD academy arrest Keagan Valdry
Keagan Valdry’s arresting mugshot from April 2020

At the scene, officials tell UWK that Valdry initially told officers that Paul had shot herself. However, East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Chief of Investigations, Shane Evans, tells UWK, “The cause of death was a gunshot wound to the upper back. The manner of death was a homicide.” This revelation from the autopsy indicated that Paul did not die from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, leading to Valdry’s subsequent arrest and the filing of one count of negligent homicide against him.

Valdry entered a plea of not guilty and was released on a $10,000 bond.

In April 2021, the case was brought before a judge at the 19th Judicial District Court for motions. The proceedings were continued seven times until October 2022, when the state decided to dismiss the charges, attributing the incident to an “accident/mitigation.”

Nearly a year later, on August 10, 2023, Valdry filed a motion for the expungement of his records, citing that he had been arrested but not convicted.

On August 23, 2023, BRPD submitted a statement indicating that they had no opposition to Valdry’s expungement. Furthermore, on September 22, 2023, the District Attorney’s Office also stated that they did not oppose the expungement.

As of the time of this report, Valdry’s record has not yet been expunged, but the process is underway to have it removed from his history.

The central issue at hand is that despite Valdry’s lack of conviction for negligent homicide, he was arrested for a felony. BRPD policy stipulates that an academy applicant is disqualified if the “applicant has been arrested for a felony or misdemeanor (expunged arrests still apply).”

UWK reached out to Keagan Valdry for a response to this report. He said “No comment.”

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.

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