Baton Rouge City Leaders Discuss Police Reform

Chief Murphy Paul

Baton Rouge, La. — Officials with the Baton Rouge Police Department held a press conference Tuesday, June 9 to discuss ongoing reforms in the department.

Chief Murphy Paul and several other top officials with the law enforcement agency talked about what it will take to build trust and legitimacy in the community.

Paul said he shares the nation’s outrage over the death of George Floyd. He condemned the actions of the Minnesota police officers involved in Floyd’s death.

He credited Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome for implementing reforms within BRPD when she took office in 2017.

BRPD officials say citizens can now file complaints online by clicking here and they have changed their internal affairs division to be more proactive instead of reactive.

The internal affairs division now starts to investigate the questionable conduct of officers before a formal complaint is filed, officials say.

Investigators with the internal affairs division also review six months of past body cam footage when they launch an investigation into a complaint against an officer.

BRPD implemented the following changes in use of force policies in February of 2017:

• Officers are required to give a verbal warning, before using deadly force, except where there are exigent circumstances

• Officers are required to deescalate situations, when possible, before using force. Deescalation strategies include disengagement, area containment, waiting out a subject, summoning reinforcements, calling in specialized units or employing other strategies.

• Officers will not employ choke holds or strangleholds, except in emergency circumstances where it is immediately necessary to use deadly force and the authorized weapons are inoperable, inaccessible, or otherwise not available

• Officers are prohibited from discharging a firearm at a moving vehicle unless the vehicle or the persons within the vehicle pose an immediate deadly threat to others

• Officers will be required to intervene to prevent another officer from using excessive force and to immediately report when they observe the use of excessive force by another officer

Two other law enforcement agencies, the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office and

Louisiana State Police, also issued statements about their policing policies Tuesday, June 9.

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