Baton Rouge Police and U.S. Postal inspectors are investigating a New Years Eve incident involving a U.S. Postal Service letter carrier who was punched and had his cellphone taken by a group of teenagers, officials say.
The unidentified letter carrier, wearing a uniform and driving a postal truck, wound up in an altercation shortly before 1 p.m. Thursday with a group of about four boys who appear to be in their teens while delivering mail in the 6000 block of Linden Street, Baton Rouge Police spokesman Cpl. Don Coppola said.
The mailman told police the group approached him while he was delivering mail, Coppola said. It’s unclear what exactly touched off the altercation, but the mailman told police he was punched and his cellphone stolen.
A video of part of the incident, shot by a bystander and submitted to the crime blog BatonRougeCrime.com, shows the teens chasing and taunting the letter carrier.
At one point, the mailman and one of the teens put up their fists in fighting stances in a front yard in the video. Coppola said Baton Rouge detectives have viewed the video as part of their ongoing investigation.
A 15-year-old teenage boy has been taken into custody by Baton Rouge Police on counts of simple theft and simple battery, Coppola said. The other three teens involved in the altercation, who haven’t been identified, also appear to be juveniles, Coppola said.
Stephanie Houston, a U.S. Postal Inspection Service agent, confirmed that her agency is also investigating the incident because it involved an on-duty Postal Service employee.
Houston said investigators are still working to determine if the letter carrier stumbled into the situation or if he was targeted because of his work as a mailman. The Postal Inspection Service could bring federal charges against those involved, Houston said.
Video provided by BatonRougeCrime.com