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New lawsuit filed against BRPD; case centers on incident that prompted arrest of Troy Lawrence, Jr.

6 months 2 weeks 2 days ago Monday, November 06 2023 Nov 6, 2023 November 06, 2023 11:11 AM November 06, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - A lawsuit filed in federal court late last week accuses a former Baton Rouge police officer of using unnecessary force when he deployed a Taser on a man in August.

The incident at the center of the lawsuit is the same one that led to the arrest of former officer Troy Lawrence, Jr., six weeks after the fact.

Lawrence had resigned the same month as the encounter.

Lawrence was charged with simple battery for allegedly stunning a handcuffed suspect in the back of a police car during a narcotics investigation.

That individual -- Lee Shaffers -- is now suing the City of Baton Rouge for $750,000.

The filing was recorded Friday in the U.S. District Court Middle District, based in Baton Rouge.

In it, Shaffers claims he was at Mike's Truck Stop on Aug. 8, waiting for a ride after his vehicle broke down.

He said two BRPD officers arrived at that location and approached Shaffers and two unidentified men who were nearby. Shaffers said he did not know or associate with the other individuals.

According to the lawsuit, Ofc. Matthew Wallace instructed Shaffers to step forward while Lawrence chased after the two other men, who were running away.

Shaffers said he was complying with directions, but that he called Wallace a "liar" when the officer claimed a video showed Shaffers taking part in a drug transaction.

He was placed in handcuffs in the back seat of a police unit.

There, the lawsuit alleges, Lawrence -- having returned to the initial scene -- "stunned Lee Shaffers with his department-issued TASER."

Shaffer claims he was "handcuffed, under control, being fully compliant and not resisting in any way."

He was issued a misdemeanor summons for resisting arrest. East Baton Rouge Parish court records do not show a current or prior drug-related charge against him, nor any other felony arrests.

The lawsuit notes that Lawrence has "a documented history of using excessive force." He is named in several open civil cases, in addition to the criminal case against him.

Lawrence is the son of former Dep. Chief Troy Lawrence, Sr., who also faces misconduct counts and who was one of four officers arrested in connection with a case that involves the alleged beating of a suspect several years ago.

The new lawsuit seeks $100,000 for physical pain and suffering, $100,000 for mental anguish, $100,000 for loss of enjoyment of life and $450,000 in punitive damages.

Local attorney Peter Dudley is Shaffers' lawyer.

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