BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – The attorney for a 17-year-old seen being arrested with a Baton Rouge police officer apparently kneeling on his back is questioning how the teen’s arrest in that manner evolved from the moment he is seen kneeling with his arms behind his head.
“On his knees in a submissive position and yet, he was handled as if he was a threat,” said attorney Ron Haley. “Why was he handled in such a rough manner? He was not armed; he was not posing a threat to anyone for him to be treated that way.”
The 17-year-old was a passenger in an alleged police chase last week. Video posted to Facebook said the officer’s knee was on the teen’s neck. Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul said that video on social media does not paint a clear image of the actual position.
“A still photo that was taken from one of the officers showing the actual angle of when the arrest was being made,” Paul said.
BRPD said what was seen in the image captured on body cam was the officer using a tactic they learn in training.
“A knee on a back is used as a control method,” said Myron Daniels with the Baton Rouge Police Department.
“We recently saw what happened to George Floyd and no matter where the knee is placed, no one deserves that treatment. If that’s in the training manual to handle somebody in that way in a submissive position then that training manual is wrong and needs to be rewritten,” said Haley.
The chief said his department will have complete transparency, something the family and their attorneys say they applaud. The mother of the teen said she’s holding the chief to his word because her son could have easily been the next hashtag.
“The police officer needs to be held accountable and also have a proper investigation and we change these policies. It can be another kid at any point and time. I’m just blessed that my son is here,” said Tenesha Cannon.
Mayor Broome provided this statement about the video:
I have serious concerns about the video I saw of a minor being apprehended by Baton Rouge Police Officers last week. The two officers involved in this incident have been placed on administrative leave.
The use of force policy for BRPD that the community worked with me on in 2017 established a level of accountability that will be seen as we continue to review the incident involving the 17-year-old.
Chief Paul and I have long been proponents of 21st Century policing practices including proper de-escalation and conflict resolution. Both of these are paramount to ensuring strong relationships between the community and the police department.
The methods and tactics used in any BRPD encounter is something we will continuously review in a comprehensive manner.
I assure the community that transparency and accountably will be demonstrated at the highest level in this situation.Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome