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Hearings delayed again for BRPD officers who say agency didn't file accusations in timely manner

1 month 1 week 3 days ago Thursday, January 11 2024 Jan 11, 2024 January 11, 2024 4:24 PM January 11, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

A pair of 19th Judicial District judges have temporarily postponed disciplinary hearings for sets of Baton Rouge Police Department officers accused of violating city policies.

Sgt. Jesse Barcelona and officer Matthew Wallace were set for disciplinary hearings Thursday, but District Judge Richard "Chip" Moore instead set a hearing on a preliminary injunction request for Jan. 25. Retiring Chief Murphy Paul sought to discipline them after a motorist was strip-searched for narcotics after a traffic stop last summer. A third police department employee resigned.

Barcelona, Cpl. Douglas Chutz, Cpl. Todd Thomas and Deputy Chief Troy Lawrence Sr. had faced hearings Friday. Court records show they were accused after a suspect was punched and tased in a bathroom during a search in 2020, and later disposed of video evidence. The hearing had initially been set for last month but Judge Tarvald Smith delayed it after one of the lawyers involved said he had a scheduling conflict.

The parties met last month and agreed to a Friday hearing date, but Smith, at the officer's request, this week set a preliminary injunction hearing for next Wednesday.

The police department employees claim their superiors did not bring accusations against them in a timely manner and that Paul or his successor are barred from disciplining them. They also say the chief was not fair and impartial.

Thomas Morse Jr., who had been BRPD's commander for training services, is to take over from Paul next week.

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