BRPD releases bodycam video of officer kneeling on teen, attorney says it was unprofessional

Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Baton Rouge police have released the video at the center of a controversial arrest of a 17-year-old, during which an officer kneeled on the teen while handcuffing him.

“It was unnecessary use of force giving the totality of the circumstances,” said Ron Haley, the attorney who is representing the teen.

“The teen, as you can see on the video before the officers engaged him, was already in a submissive position to give himself up. There was no reason to treat him in such manner.”

On July 9, the teen was a passenger in a car being chased by BRPD. Once the vehicle stopped, the body camera shows the 17-year-old on his knees with his arms in the air. Haley claims his client was manhandled while the driver, 22-year-old Kimani Smith was handled with care.

“It’s in direct contrast to the other individual who was the driver of the car who seems to be the more responsible party for what happened was taken away without incident.”

During a news conference on Monday, Baton Rouge Chief of Police Murphy Paul confirmed the officer did put a knee on the teen’s back, but said it falls under approved techniques.

“That’s the training that he received when he went through the academy,” said Paul.

After listening to the chief and watching the video, the attorney representing the teen said if that’s the training, then it needs to be changed.

“There are times when officers need to use force, absolutely. This clearly was not one of those times,” said Haley.

Haley sid there are still concerns about where the knee was placed and if was excessive or not, noting the nationwide unrest surrounding similar cases.

“Even after George Floyd and those protests and the movement that’s still going they still don’t get it.”

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