Judge sides with lawyer who filed suit against City of Baton Rouge for use of BRPD bodycam footage that showcased a juvenile
BATON ROUGE - A judge sided with a Louisiana lawyer who sued Baton Rouge City-Parish, Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome and Police Chief Murphy Paul over the release of bodycam footage showcasing a juvenile being frisked during a traffic stop in Jan. 2020.
The civil action lawsuit, filed Friday by lawyer Thomas Frampton, was an effort to not be held in contempt of juvenile court "for releasing dash camera and body camera video footage taken by BRPD officers which allegedly documents misconduct by BRPD and captures the arrest and search of a juvenile."
The lawsuit states Jan. 1, 2020, Clarence Green and a juvenile were stopped by officers while driving through Baton Rouge. The two were frisked and strip-searched, then placed under arrest.
Documents said Green was physically beaten in the back of a police car before being booked. The juvenile was released to his mother under a Custodial Agreement for possession of marijuana, which the lawsuit claims is equivalent to an arrest.
The lawsuit alleges bodycam footage was released to multiple agencies without any restrictive messages concerning the identity of the juvenile being shown. It also includes the City-Parish did not request permission from the Juvenile Court before releasing the video to outside agencies.
During a hearing Nov. 20, 2020, a judge said one of the officers involved in the traffic stop, Officer Camallo, gave a contradictory testimony and "failed to offer a satisfactory explanation for why the police reports in the investigation were revised nearly one dozen times in months following the arrest," according to documents.
On Dec. 24, 2020, the courts dismissed the indictment against Green. Four days later, Green was released from custody. The courts said Green's arrest violated his Fourth Amendment rights.
According to the lawsuit, Frampton offered to represent the Green family Jan. 1, 2021, and filed a civil suit against Officer Camallo, "alleging constitutional violations, false imprisonment and the manufacturing of false evidence."
The lawsuit states Frampton requested and received a copy of the Green bodycam footage "from the Federal Public Defender, who had received it from the U.S. Attorney's Office and who, in turn, had received it from BRPD." Documents say the Federal Public Depender placed no restrictions on Frampton's use of the video.
Frampton said he placed a request for the video Jan. 21, 2021, but withdrew the request March 25, 2021, because he already received it from Green's criminal defense lawyer.
Frampton alleges he spoke with East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hilliar Moore, who did not tell Frampton "that he should not share it, or that it would be a crime to share it," according to the lawsuit.
May 27, 2021, Frampton put out a press release on behalf of the Green family, which included a link to the BRPD video, including the portion showing the juvenile.
The following day, the City-Parish filed a motion in Juvenile Court against Frampton for releasing the video with an un-blurred juvenile in it.
The court's ruling concludes that Thomas Frampton should not be held in contempt of Juvenile Court and the City-Parish must withdraw their ruling.
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