A child abuse investigation linked to Calvin Toney led authorities to his home Monday night, setting the scene for what law enforcement officials described as an intense struggle that ended when a Baton Rouge Police officer fatally shot the 24-year-old man outside his apartment.
The officer had accompanied a Department of Child and Family Services caseworker who was investigating the possibility that Toney had committed child abuse, Louisiana State Police said Tuesday. At the same time, his family members emphasized the extent to which Toney seemed to have turned his life around after past mistakes, including a 2012 abuse case in which he was later convicted of cruelty to a juvenile.
Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome said Tuesday afternoon that she has viewed the body camera footage in a Baton Rouge Police Department off…
Senior Trooper Bryan Lee, a state police spokesman, said in a news release that the caseworker asked for an escort from the Baton Rouge Police Department both because of the nature of the case and Toney's "previous history."
BRPD identified the officer who shot Toney as 32-year-old Officer Darrell Carter. He has been on the force for 2.5 years serving in the uniform patrol division, said Sgt. L'Jean McKneely, a police spokesman. Carter is on paid administrative leave during the shooting investigation.
Shortly after the officer and caseworker made contact with Toney, he tried to flee on foot, Lee said. During a lengthy struggle, Lee said Carter hit Toney with a stun gun multiple times before firing one shot with a handgun that struck him in the chest.
East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore III said during that "really big, physical encounter" between Toney and the Carter, the officer's body camera fell off, although audio continued to record. He also said the stun gun became dislodged from the officer at some point during the struggle, but what happened to the weapon after that remains under investigation.
Toney tried to run away after being shot, at which point the body camera's audio footage captured the officer shouting verbal commands at Toney, Moore said.
A second officer arrived at the scene at this point and helped Carter handcuff the injured man, Moore said.
"He was clearly combative even after he's on the ground... You could hear it, they need both of them to get him handcuffed," Moore said.
Toney was handcuffed after the shooting "for safety reasons," Lee said. Toney remained alert and was provided medical attention by other responding officers. Moore said one officer applied a patch to the bullet hole, officers attempted to find the bullet's potential exit wound and they gave him water. After Emergency Medical Services crews arrived, police removed the handcuffs so paramedics could treat him.
Toney was later pronounced dead at the scene. East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Dr. William “Beau” Clark said that Toney died of "a single gunshot wound to the chest with a trajectory of front to back, left to right."
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Lee said the incident remains under investigation and State Police detectives are reviewing body camera and surveillance camera footage, as well as witness statements and 911 calls.
Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome said she also watched the body camera footage, noting what she saw was consistent with the account of the shooting provided so far by State Police.
"I don't want to dissect the video," Broome said. "I believe when all the footage and witness statements are put together, it will paint a clearer picture of what took place."
Lee said the videos would not be released Tuesday as witnesses were still being interviewed.
The scene outside the apartment building on McClelland Drive grew emotional after the shooting Monday night, as dozens of people gathered outside the crime tape for hours after the shooting. Tensions ran high with several onlookers loudly addressing officers standing near the perimeter. The yelling eventually escalated into chants from the crowd of "Back up, don't shoot," and "No justice, no peace."
The shooting occurred more than a year after the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling, who was shot to death outside a convenience store in July 2016. That shooting, which was captured by cell phone videos that later went viral, sparked days of protests in Baton Rouge. Earlier this year, federal prosecutors said they wouldn't pursue federal civil rights charges against the involved officers, who remain on paid administrative leave. A state investigation by Louisiana Attorney Jeff Landry's office is still pending.
Broome, who is alerted by BRPD every time there is a homicide in Baton Rouge, went to the apartment building after hearing that a crowd had gathered. She described the people there as concerned but not volatile. She also said that she will question her next police chief on how they would handle a similar situation, though she complimented Interim Chief Jonny Dunnam's approach thus far.
"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.
On Tuesday, Toney's family said they are still seeking answers to why he was killed. Calvin Coleman and his wife Tomera said they received a call from a relative Monday night that their son had been shot. Shortly after, news notifications on their phones informed them that there was an officer-involved shooting at an apartment complex where Toney moved only about six months ago.
The Colemans went to the scene, but weren't allowed past the crime scene tape and didn't talk with law enforcement authorities.
"Why? What was the need for the excessive force that they used?" Tomera Coleman asked.
The couple said Toney was a father to two young girls and was living at an apartment with his girlfriend and her children. Though he previously served time in jail, Toney had been out for about a year and was working a new job, according to his family.
"He had issues with law enforcement before but he changed. He changed for the better," Calvin Coleman said. "By him changing, it meant a lot to us."
The DCFS caseworker Monday was following up on the arrest of 24-year-old Naima Kimber, who was booked Sunday after she brought her toddler son to a local hospital for burns. Investigators later learned she lived with Toney, Moore said. The Colemans also said Toney had been living with Kimber.
Medical professionals found the 2-year-old child had second-degree burns on the top of both his feet and ankles and later found multiple ribs and two other bones fractured, as well as burns on his leg from an earlier incident, according to Kimber's arrest report.
Moore said the child was placed in the state's custody as the investigation continued. Beyond simply living with Kimber and the 2-year-old, Moore said Toney became of further interest when investigators compared Kimber's son's injuries with the "really similar" injuries suffered by Toney's child in 2012.
In that incident, Toney's 19-month-old daughter was burned and he was arrested on a count of second-degree cruelty to juveniles, according to 19th District Judicial Court records. After the child was evaluated, three doctors told police that the toddler also had multiple bone fractures at varying stages of healing, which a police affidavit said were "consistent with abuse." The affidavit also noted that the girl had third-degree burns to her arm, wrist and hand, which were blamed on the child being left near a hot stove.
"Both were hot, boiling water on infants, and the way that the injuries were described (by the parents), medical professionals said that is inconsistent with the injuries," Moore said. "And then under further review they found additional severe injuries to the child, broken bones, which are again inconsistent with how (the parents) say it occurred."
While Moore drew the similarities between the two incidents, he said there were not yet any allegations of abuse against Toney in the most recent case involving Kimber’s child.
Toney pleaded guilty in 2014 to a reduced charge of cruelty to a juvenile and received a suspended sentence and probation.
However, three months later, Toney was again arrested on home invasion in what police described as an attack on his ex-girlfriend. This violated his probation and meant his earlier seven-year prison sentence was reinstated, according to court records. In the home invasion case, Toney pleaded down to a misdemeanor criminal trespassing charge in December 2015, and was sentenced to six months in Parish Prison, said Ken Pastorick, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety and Corrections. Toney stayed locked up from his Sept. 7, 2014 arrest until Oct. 12, 2016, when he was released on good time parole, Pastorick said.
Toney had been under medium supervision with the East Baton Rouge Probation and Parole office, meeting every three months with his parole officer, Pastorick said. Toney met his obligations for the meetings, obtained his GED, gained full employment at Burger King and paid all his court fines and fees, Pastorick said.
Tomera Coleman still has a video on her cellphone of Toney walking across a stage, wearing a red cap and gown, to accept his GED. As his name is announced and he starts walking, his family cheers him on and his 6-year-old daughter echoes the encouragements of "let's go baby!" and "to the top!"
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…
Toney's family points to the GED, his first job out of jail at a Burger King and his more recent job working in construction machinery with his father as signs of the 24-year-old's growth.
“We don't want to have a poorly painted picture of him," Toney's aunt Raylonda Coleman said. "The social media is going crazy right now and making him look like he's a criminal and they're looking at something that happened in 2012 and trying to justify what happened yesterday and that's just not the case. People can change."
Calvin Coleman said he talked to Toney, who he said was determined, on the phone almost every day about how to keep turning his life around.
"I'm not saying side with us or side with the police, but somewhere in the middle of this the truth lies within what the media is saying and what the family is thinking and feeling and what actually happened," Raylonda Coleman said. "You can't criminalize him or victimize the police until you know actually what happened, somewhere in the middle where the truth lies."
Advocate staff writer Andrea Gallo contributed to this report.