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Nakamoto: D.A. to review in-custody death in wake of BRPD drug squad corruption allegations

1 month 1 week 1 day ago Tuesday, June 15 2021 Jun 15, 2021 June 15, 2021 4:11 PM June 15, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - The East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney will review a previously-closed internal Baton Rouge Police investigation into a man's death after a violent encounter with drug squad agents eight years ago.

Dontrunner Robinson died, choking while trying to swallow a bag of cocaine.  But, his family and community activists, shared photographs that show Robinson with beating-like injuries sustained before he died as police served a no-knock search warrant at a Flag Street address in May 2013.

Casa Robinson-Bean said she'll never forget the last words her son uttered.

"Momma please help me," Robinson-Bean recalled him saying. "I can't breathe."

Neighbor Fate Weatherspoon remembers what he witnessed vividly.

"I noticed them dragging him out of the houses," Weatherspoon said. "You could see his body was limp already."

Weatherspoon and others like Robinson's family and the NAACP are renewing the calls for another review into what happened.

"This stinks to high heaven of a coverup of prior administrations in 2013," Eugene Collins, President of the NAACP, Baton Rouge chapter said. "This would be another unexplained death in the country."

D.A. Hillar Moore said in an interview with WBRZ and Chief Investigator Chris Nakamoto, he will review the case.

"We will take a look at any and all information that's out there and make some decisions on what the facts are.  Right now, I don't have a handle on what all the facts are," Moore said in an interview.

Former drug officer Jeremiah Ardoin, who has become a whistleblower of alleged wrongdoing within the department after he was arrested buying stolen merchandise from an informant, said his colleagues on the drug squad joked about Robinson's death.

"I had to forgive them in order for me to exhale and in order for me to move on," Robinson-Bean said. "I want justice for him."

As Robinson's family has waited eight long years to find out what happened, they've retained a new attorney. They feel that justice may come soon.

"The culture is different now than what it was in 2013," Attorney Ron Haley said. "We hope that the district attorney's office takes a strong look and considers bringing charges to a grand jury. We hope the Department of Justice takes a look at this case."

Baton Rouge Police said an internal investigation cleared officers involved and the department's investigation cannot be reopened.

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