Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome said Tuesday afternoon that she has viewed the body camera footage in a Baton Rouge Police Department officer's fatal shooting of a man last night, and confirmed that the camera appeared to fall off at one point but said it still captured "extensive audio."
Broome said the footage she viewed is consistent with the accounts of the investigation into the shooting that have been released by Louisiana State Police, which is investigating the incident.
The State Police said Tuesday that a BRPD officer was escorting a social worker Monday from the Department of Child and Family Services for an investigation into possible child abuse by 24-year-old Calvin Toney. Once the officer arrived at the Palms Apartments, Toney attempted to flee and a struggle ensued between the officer and Toney before the officer tased Toney multiple times and eventually shot him, State Police said.
The officer's name has not been made public yet.
"I don't want to dissect the video," Broome said in an interview Tuesday afternoon from her conference room. "I believe when all the footage and witness statements are put together, it will paint a clearer picture of what took place."
A child abuse investigation linked to Calvin Toney led authorities to his home Monday night, setting the scene for what law enforcement offici…
"That video will add value to the case and what happened," Broome added about the body camera footage.
Still, she emphasized that the body camera is only one piece of evidence in the broader evidence gathering. Broome was hesitant to answer questions about whether the body camera footage made her believe the shooting was justified — saying that the full investigation will better determine that.
BRPD rejected a public records request that The Advocate filed for the body camera footage Tuesday morning, saying that they could not release it because it involves an ongoing investigation. Though Broome spoke of the desire from the community for transparency and quick answers about the shooting of Toney, she also said that protocols for the ongoing investigation need to be followed.
"I don't think it would be advantageous for the officer to see the video before he tells his side of the story," Broome said, noting that she was unsure if the officer had already given his account of the shooting to investigators.
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BRPD notifies the mayor-president every time there's a homicide in Baton Rouge. She said she first received a call Monday night telling her that an officer had shot someone, but that it was not until later when she found out that Toney had died.
As she spoke to the police department and her communications director Monday evening and found out that a crowd was gathering near where the shooting happened, Broome said she decided she wanted to go out to the scene herself. She started talking to people out there, and she described the crowd as concerned but not volatile.
"I learned later there had been this rumor the young man had been handcuffed and shot," Broome recalled Tuesday. "That's what the crowd told me, but when I spoke to law enforcement, they assured me that's not what transpired."
Broome spoke of the danger of misinformation, saying it can catalyze people "to a negative space." She also warned that the community should not rush to judgment about the shooting of Toney until more facts become public, and said she will be pushing for the investigation to be expedited.
Broome also said that she will use the shooting as one issue that she questions her next police chief about, as a search is underway. She said she plans to ask candidates how they would have approached the situation or how they might have handled it differently, though Broome complimented Interim Chief Jonny Dunnam's approach thus far.
A man shot dead by a Baton Rouge police officer during a struggle at an apartment complex has been identified as 24-year-old Calvin Toney, Lou…
"I do think, though, that when we have a situation like we had last night, it keeps pointing to the need to close the gap between citizens and police," she said.
The mayor-president said she has reached out to Toney's family to offer her condolences and prayers, but that she has not heard back. She also said she would like to meet with the police officer, if he is willing, and to hear his side of the story and to check in on the DCFS social worker.