Woman sues for officer misconduct; BRPD continues internal investigation

Attorney Eulis Simien Jr. filed a lawsuit against City-Parish, BRPD, and officer on behalf of Melinda Morris of St. Amant.

POSTED: Monday, September 19, 2011 - 11:40am

UPDATED: Monday, September 19, 2011 - 5:09pm

THIS IS AN NBC33 NEWS UPDATE: As the Baton Rouge Police Department continues its internal investigation, a lawsuit has now been filed in federal court.

That suit was filed by lawyer Eulis Simien Jr. on behalf of Melinda Morris of St. Amant. Morris claims she was wrongfully dragged by her hair and charged with battery on a police officer and resisting arrest. This occurred after she was involved in a motorcycle accident in the early evening on Saturday, Sept. 10.

The incident was caught on camera by two freelance videographers. The Baton Rouge Police Department began conducting an internal investigation after NBC33 News arranged for the videographers to provide a copy to BRPD Internal Investigations Department.

Morris is now suing the City-Parish, Baton Rouge Police Department and BRPD Officer Robert Schilling.

THIS IS AN NBC33 NEWS UPDATE: (09-13-11) - Baton Rouge Police Chief Dwayne White responds to the video that prompted an internal investigation.

“The perception of the incident captured on video on the evening of Saturday, September 10, 2011 involving an officer of the Baton Rouge Police, and his use of force to take an individual into custody, certainly appears excessive and contrary to the methods employed by this department for officers effecting arrests,” White said in an official press release. “As Chief of Police, I have ordered an Internal Affairs investigation of this matter absent any complaint made by any of the parties involved on the night in question. I would be remiss to comment on the merits or facts of this case until the conclusion of the Internal Affairs investigation and final disposition of the matter at the administrative and district court levels.

“The involved officer, as it is my prerogative to do so, has not been placed on administrative leave. Until this matter is concluded, the department will make no further comments regarding this incident.”

ORIGINAL STORY: (09-12-11) -- BRPD has officially launched an internal investigation regarding an incident that occurred on Saturday, Sept 10 due to a tip provided by NBC33 News.

Shortly before 9 p.m. on Saturday, NBC33 News was contacted by two freelance photographers. They witnessed a traffic accident, and alleged to have video of misconduct by a BRPD Officer. The misconduct involved excessive force against a female who was involved in the traffic accident.

NBC33 News then informed Public Information Officer Sgt. Don Stone about the existence of the video. Stone then contacted the Internal Investigations Department and coordinated a meeting with the videographers.

After viewing the video, BRPD determined the incident warranted investigation and immediately launched the internal investigation.

As of this time no official complaint has been filed to the department. The investigation is being conducted after BRPD Police reviewed the video and determined that the officer in question was not acting in a way befitting of an officer.

Due to the open status of the investigation, the Baton Rouge Police Department is not commenting on the details of the case.

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