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Man sues LSU, claims shoddy investigation by campus police led to his arrest

4 years 2 months 1 day ago Friday, December 20 2019 Dec 20, 2019 December 20, 2019 11:07 AM December 20, 2019 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE- An Eagle Scout and man without any criminal history sued LSU this week after he was falsely arrested for calling in a bomb threat at LSU. An exhaustive review of all of the investigative materials and phone logs show there was no way he could have done that.

The lawsuit filed Monday names The Board of Supervisors at LSU, LSU Police and Officer Sarah Drake who executed Evan James' arrest.

James was arrested on Dec. 15, 2018 after posts were made on social media alleging James said he would blow up the LSU Student Union. The lawsuit says that James was the victim of an armed robbery the night before as he walked home. "The unknown gunman then held the gun to plaintiff's head and demanded he give him the passcode to unlock his phone."

James made a police report and was taken home after the armed robbery, according to the lawsuit.

"The following morning, multiple armed officers with LSUPD, including Drake, appeared at his residence with a warrant for his arrest. Plaintiff and his family were confused and terrified, especially since the plaintiff had been the victim of such a violent crime, just hours earlier," the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit said in the hours after the robbery, the unknown assailant used James' cell phone to post threats on social media about bombing LSU.

"If anyone at LSUPD had bothered to call BRPD and investigate, they would have known that just approximately ten minutes prior to the post, an officer had taken a report and driven petitioner home without a cell phone," according to the lawsuit.

District Attorney Hillar Moore's office conducted an exhaustive investigation and determined James is "factually innocent."

Moore said his office reviewed all court-ordered telecommunication call data records and social media account data.

"It is clear from the evidence that Evan James did not make the unlawful communication and he could not have initiated the communication through others," Moore said.

James' attorney said the unlawful arrest, without a proper investigation by LSUPD, ruined his client's reputation. He was kicked out of Baton Rouge Community College after his arrest and was also removed from another educational program he was admitted to.

"LSU is independently liable unto plaintiff for failing to adequately train and supervise Drake in her performance of her duties, and specifically failed to train and supervise her in the existence of probable cause and proper investigational standards," the lawsuit said.

We reached out to LSU about a comment for this story. A spokesman said the university will not comment on pending litigation.

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