The FBI is investigating police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, after allegations that police tortured suspects in a warehouse known as the “Brave Cave.”
FBI officials said Friday the civil rights investigation is based on “allegations that members of the department may have abused their authority,” according to NPR.
Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul said he sought the FBI review of his department.
The investigation comes after two lawsuits against the department and the resignation of Troy Lawrence Jr., whose father, Troy Lawrence Sr., serves as deputy chief after commanding the Baton Rouge Area Violence Elimination unit, known by the acronym BRAVE. Troy Lawrence Jr. faces a charge of simple battery.
Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome ordered the warehouse closed.
“The severity of these allegations deeply concerns me, especially given the potential impact on the trust our community places in us,” Broome said.
“The Baton Rouge Police Department is committed to addressing these troubling accusations and has initiated administrative and criminal investigations,” the police department said in a statement, according to CNN.
Attorneys filed a second federal lawsuit against the Baton Rouge Police Department, several individual police officers and the city in connection with an alleged torture warehouse dubbed the “Brave Cave,” according to a complaint. https://t.co/FVORinnljC
— CNN (@CNN) September 21, 2023
One lawsuit was filed Monday in U.S. District Court by Ternell Brown, a grandmother, who said the car in which she and her husband were riding was stopped in June while she was carrying two different types of prescription pills in the same container, drugs she “lawfully possessed,” the lawsuit said.
“Because BRPD officers deemed this behavior ‘suspicious,’ she was taken to BRPD’s black site, where she was forced to show officers that she was not hiding contraband in her vagina or rectum. After more than two hours, they let her go without charge,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit said the officers were “not acting as rogue officers when they sexually humiliated Mrs. Brown; rather, they were simply carrying out official BRPD policy … [which] instructs officers that they may conduct these invasive strip search[es] whenever they have ‘reasonable suspicion to frisk’ a detainee. Such a policy runs directly contrary to longstanding U.S. Supreme Court jurisprudence.”
The suit said he was detained on Jan. 9 “without reasonable suspicion or probable cause.”
The lawsuit claimed he had his pants pulled down on the street and was abused there before being taken to the so-called “Brave Cave.”
Once there, three officers “repeatedly kicked and punched” him, the complaint said.
“Mr. Lee’s screams for help and screams in pain could be heard throughout the facility,” the suit said, claiming officers “laughed at and mocked” him.
Officers are accused of switching their body cameras off for part of the beating, after which Lee was released with no charges filed.
Thomas Frampton, the attorney representing Lee and Brown, told NPR other allegations have emerged.
“This kind of misconduct is so entrenched that people had little reason to expect any kind of positive change,” he said.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.