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State Police second-in-command placed on leave amid investigation into erased phone records

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BATON ROUGE - Louisiana State Police Lt. Colonel Doug Cain, who's faced scrutiny for his actions at the agency amid an internal investigation into Ronald Greene's in-custody death, has been placed on administrative leave.

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State Police Superintendent Lamar Davis released a statement late Friday morning—a day after Davis sat through another line of questioning from state lawmakers—saying his second-in-command was on paid leave while the agency investigates the circumstances surrounding the "sanitization" of Cain's department phone. 

"This morning, I placed Lt. Colonel Doug Cain on paid administrative leave pending the ongoing administrative investigation into the sanitization of his department cellular device. The decision to place him on leave was made in the best interest of the department to eliminate any questions into the integrity of the investigation.  I am confident the investigation will be conducted in a fair and unbiased manner leaving no concerns of its findings."

The deletion of Cain's phone records was first uncovered by Chris Nakamoto and The WBRZ Investigative Unit earlier this year.

WBRZ learned that Cain turned in his phone sometime in February 2020 while the agency was still investigating Greene's death. Department-issued phones are typically turned over and wiped when a trooper leaves the agency. However, records showed Cain's device was turned in while offering no particular reason for the device to be sanitized.

Cain was recently grilled by a bi-partisan committee of legislators looking into apparent efforts by State Police to cover up Greene's death. Cain dodged most of their questions, citing an internal probe into his phone activity.

Members of the committee were frustrated that Cain only told them about that internal investigation the evening before the lieutenant colonel was scheduled to testify at the State Capitol hearing.

"This is the opposite of transparency," Rep. Tanner Magee said the day of Cain's testimony. "Y'all had all this time... and y'all did nothing on the issue. We start talking about it, wanting to know some answers on it, and then conveniently you conduct an investigation so you can come in here and say, 'I can't talk about it.'"

Cain said the internal affairs investigation was first launched March 4, a little more than two weeks before the hearing.

Magee issued a statement Friday to the WBRZ Investigative Unit.

"It's an unfortunate situation," Magee said. "The committee never asked Trooper Cain to be investigated. We just wanted to know why he wiped his phone. But if State Police believe an investigation is warranted, it's borderline crazy for him to still be working as the second most powerful position and expect an unbiased outcome."

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