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Multiple fights break out at mayor's Summer of Hope kickoff event, BRPD reviewing body cam footage

3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago Monday, May 27 2024 May 27, 2024 May 27, 2024 5:41 PM May 27, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Multiple fights broke out and at least one arrest was made at Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome's Summer of Hope kickoff event at Liberty Lagoon.

Watch live newscasts here. 

The Pool Day at Liberty Lagoon was a free event hosted by the Mayor's Office, Stay Hopeful Healthy Baton Rouge, and BREC. The event started at 7:30 p.m. and was supposed to last three hours, but was cut short when fights broke out around 8:45. 

Mayor Broome said there were no injuries and no shots fired in what was described as a large brawl at the waterpark. More than 20 Baton Rouge Police Department vehicles lined Lobdell Boulevard and shut down the roadway around 9 p.m. 

Videos posted to social media showed crowds of teenagers standing in the roadway, some looking for their friends or parents and a few in handcuffs or being put in the back of police cars. A livestream video showed a group of teens telling and cursing at officers before one of the BRPD officers tried to take one of the teenagers out of the crowd. 

WARNING: The video below contains language that some may find disturbing or offensive. 

                                                   

According to a video provided to WBRZ, a male BRPD officer grabbed the teen from the sidewalk and pulled them into the roadway where he tried to take the teenager to the ground. During the struggle, the officer punched the teen. The video shows that while other officers tried to help secure the teen, more teenagers gathered around the officers. One of the girls tried to push the officer who punched the teen. Video shows the girl being peppersprayed and then she had a taser pointed at her. The teen was handcuffed and taken away without their shoes. 

BRPD Chief TJ Morse said that internal affairs is reviewing the incident. 

"[We] will work diligently to provide updates and release body-worn camera videos. We will be working thoroughly to keep the public up to date and release the related videos as soon as possible," a release said. 

The Mayor sent the following statement Sunday evening: 

I express my gratitude to all the well-intentioned youth and community members who joined us for our Liberty Lagoon Block Party event. The unfortunate behavior of a small group that occurred highlights the critical need for initiatives like Summer of Hope. With over 200 events planned, our aim is to create spaces for violence intervention and promote peace within our community. Thanks to the vigilant supervision of law enforcement at the event, we were able to intervene quickly and effectively. We are committed to reviewing and enhancing our safety plans for future events to ensure the well-being of all participants. Additionally, we are dedicated to engaging our youth and families at all levels, fostering a stronger, more connected community. This incident will not deter us from our mission to build a safer, more united Baton Rouge.

2024 marks the third summer that Mayor Broome has enacted her Summer of Hope initiative to decrease violence through community-oriented events. 

Early Sunday, a 27-year-old was killed and another person was hurt in a shooting less than a quarter of a mile away from the waterpark. 

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