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Family wants to see BRPD video after man says cops beat him on Roosevelt Street

1 month 2 weeks 3 days ago Thursday, May 30 2024 May 30, 2024 May 30, 2024 3:15 PM May 30, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE — The family is asking that the Baton Rouge Police Department release body-cam footage that would show why their relative was beaten after a shot-spotter activation sent officers into his grandmother's neighborhood.

Roderick Veal was accused of resisting arrest after the May 21 incident on West Roosevelt Street. His family members say he had to go to the hospital after the encounter.

"What should have been a routine interaction between Mr. Veal and BRPD ended with him being beaten to the point where he ended up in the hospital," lawyer Ron Haley said Thursday. Seeing video of the exchange might clear things up, he said.

"Law enforcement officers approached his vehicle. There was a conversation about whether or not he heard shots that were fired somewhere up the street. Things went left after that," Haley said. "He was forcibly taken out of his car and the fight ensued."

Chief T.J. Morse, when he took office last winter, pledged that the agency would be transparent under his leadership. Veal's family believes it is being kept in the dark.

WBRZ, too, asked to see body-cam video from May 21 but was told it was not available because it was part of an investigation.

"It is my understanding that there is still an ongoing investigation that resulted from this incident," BRPD's legal affairs liaison said. "We cannot provide you with the records you are seeking at this time."

Veal said he was minding his own business when police pulled into the neighborhood. Video from the scene didn't illustrate how the situation escalated.

"What does tell the whole story is what's on the body cam footage, so right now we're asking the police department to release the body cam footage," Haley said. "If my client's position that he was unjustifiably pulled from his car and beaten to the point that he went to the hospital is not true or unfounded, or he did something to justify the police response, then please, show the footage and we can move on."

The police response occurred as part of its "gun violence reduction unit" targeting a jump in shootings since the beginning of the year. The proactive patrols, which started in March, have resulted in 54 arrests, 40 summonses and 124 citations. For the year, felony arrests in Baton Rouge are down 16 percent from the same point last year.

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