Four BRPD officers named in lawsuit over excessive force
BATON ROUGE- A grieving mother and father are suing the Baton Rouge Police Department and four of its officers claiming their actions led to their loved ones death.
Kevin Bajoie, 32, was tazed in North Baton Rouge last year. He died of a heart attack later.
Tonight, Bajoie and his wife are suing the department claiming officers need to be better trained. The lawsuit alleges officers tazed a man while he was unconscious. The incident occurred after a disturbance.
"To my family, it has devastated us," Lawrence Bajoie said. "We hadn't come to closure on it."
Lawrence Bajoie can't seem to snap out of a nightmare that centers around his son, Kevin, who he described as fun loving and gentle. Cell phone video captured a piece of what occurred last year.
"They tazed him, full of that mess," people in cell phone video can be heard saying following the incident last year.
Four Baton Rouge Police Officers arrived on scene. The lawsuit claims Bajoie was in his boxers and unconscious. The Investigative Unit obtained photos from dash cameras in one of the units. Officers Robert Gann, Donald Stoetzner, Jace Ducote and Maurice Duke are named in a lawsuit filed in District court this week. The incident occurred not far from Southern University's campus in the 9000 block of Avenue C.
According to Jill Craft, the family's attorney, Bajoie's toxicology report after his death showed he had synthetic marijuana in his system along with amphetamines. Craft believes those were administered by paramedics. She believes it was the electric shock from the taser that stopped his heart.
According to the lawsuit, defendants Duke and Ducote deployed taser blasts to Mr. Bajoie's back even though he was unconscious and face down on the ground. Those officers repeatedly kicked and punched Bajoie. Defendants Gann and Stoetzner were in a position to stop the excessive force, and did nothing. Craft says adding to the confusion are the stories and videos from witnesses that don't match up with police statements.
"The physical evidence does not match what the officers are saying happened," Craft said.
The lawsuit alleges Baton Rouge Police have negligent training and supervision of Baton Rouge Police officers. They don't have a policy restricting use of tasers. As Lawrence Bajoie prepares to spend father's day without his son, he just wants straight answers about what happened to him.
"It seems when the officers arrived the grim reaper may have rode with them, because my son died as a result," Bajoie said.
At the time of the incident, Baton Rouge Police said Bajoie jumped up and tried to attack an officer which is why tasers were used. The Investigative Unit reached out to Baton Rouge Police on Tuesday, but they told us they couldn't comment due to the pending litigation.
Desktop NewsClick to open Continuous News in a sidebar that updates in real-time.
Community mourns Istrouma High School principal, Reginald Douglas
Electro-fishing boats show dangerous asain carp population growth
Local customers may be affected as AT&T employees go on strike
Hundreds from all over the state lined up for American Idol auditions
Funeral service held in Lafayette for former Gov. Kathleen Blanco