BRPD officer on restricted duty after WBRZ report showed disturbing body cam footage
BATON ROUGE- A Baton Rouge Police Officer is on restricted duty, which means she won't have any interaction with the public, after the WBRZ Investigative Unit aired body camera footage of her saying she wanted to search a car without probable cause and would report whatever she found as being in plain view.
Robin Ducote's internal affairs investigation began on March 9, 2018, when Baton Rouge Police became aware of the video. As the internal affairs investigation unfolded, Ducote remained on the streets, patrolling, until the March 26 report on Channel 2. Following the report, she was placed on restricted duty.
"It seems interesting that they would wait," defense lawyer Jarrett Ambeau said. "The only thing that changed when the story ran was that the public found out. The message there is until the public finds out, we don't have to do anything about it."
The video was leaked to WBRZ and is between Ducote and at least two other officers at a situation involving a juvenile.
DUCOTE: I want to get her out of the truck, and let's search this truck.
OFFICER: Do you have p.c. (probable cause)?
DUCOTE: Ah, yeah, they are both (expletive) passed out in the front.
OFFICER: That's not enough. That's not enough, Robin. Someone could be asleep.
DUCOTE: So, if we find something we say it was in plain view. We're writing this report (Laughs).
OFFICER: I'm trying to cover our (expletive).
DUCOTE: Oh, the report will.
Probable cause is a standard in criminal law that allows officers to execute a search. Probable cause is not needed if something is in plain view.
"What does it say about BRPD that they didn't do anything for two weeks," Ambeau wondered. "Here we are with this strife between BRPD and the community, and yet with the opportunity to take immediate action and what is supportive of the community, BRPD does nothing."
Baton Rouge Police declined to do an on-camera interview about this Wednesday, a day after Police Chief Murphy Paul addressed a crowd in Baton Rouge promising officers will adhere to policies and if they don't there will be consequences.
Defense lawyers said there would never be a situation where the words Ducote said on her body camera would be ok.
It's unclear how long BRPD's internal affairs investigation will take. BRPD said Ducote is not allowed to work extra duty while she's on restricted duty.