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Attorneys, defendants step foot inside of the BRAVE Cave Friday

2 months 2 days 5 hours ago Friday, March 22 2024 Mar 22, 2024 March 22, 2024 6:36 PM March 22, 2024 in News

BATON ROUGE - In the latest development at the BRAVE cave, an unmarked police warehouse at the center of multiple serious abuse and misconduct complaints, attorneys and other involved in lawsuits against the department and individual officers were allowed to go inside of the building. 

The metal shed-like building next to the First District police station has reportedly been in use for more than 20 years. Complaints and federal lawsuits have been filed by several people alleging physical abuse and civil rights violations there. Those allegations, which include beatings, improper strip-searches and body cavity searches and other abuse have prompted a criminal investigation into the facility, officers and the Baton Rouge Police Department as a whole. 

The group of attorneys described the conditions inside of the BRAVE Cave as "cold" and "horrific," detailing how shackles were connected to the cement floor, with children's drawings and stickers on a bench nearby. The group told WBRZ Friday, they believed the site had been "cleaned out" despite a judge's orders to preserve all evidence.

"What's happening here should have never happened. This is a torture warehouse, this is a black site. And it meets all the definitions of that," said Ryan Thompson, an attorney representing Jeremy Lee, who was allegedly beaten inside of the warehouse in January 2023.

Despite multiple cameras placed inside of the building, police have not provided footage of several instances, claiming the surveillance was on a 30 day cycle and therefore had been deleted. Attorneys questioned the transparency of the case because of the lack of footage. 

Police response to those claims began with the ousting of Baton Rouge police officer Troy Lawrence Jr., who resigned after he was accused of beating a man at the warehouse.  

As more details began to emerge on the Brave cave and how it functioned as an arrestee processing facility, Mayor Sharon Weston Broome announced in late August that the building would be permanently shut down and that BRPD would disband the Street Crimes Unit associated with it.

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