Baton Rouge police did not use excessive or unreasonable force in their June 2015 stun gun-involved subduing of a Zachary man who died from what the coroner later called drug intoxication, the city-parish contends in court documents.
But an attorney for Kevin Bajoie's parents, who filed a wrongful death lawsuit in June claiming officers used excessive force on their 32-year-old son in Scotlandville, has reached a different conclusion, saying Monday "there appears to have been no justification for the use of force applied."
Lawrence and Mabel Bajoie's suit named the city-parish, Baton Rouge Police Department and several police officers as defendants.
Now, the city-parish is asking for a jury trial in the 19th Judicial District Court and ultimately the dismissal of the suit, which seeks an unspecified amount of damages.
The suit alleges the stun gun blasts contributed to, hastened or caused Kevin Bajoie's death.
It’s been a painful year since Kevin Bajoie died after Baton Rouge police used stun guns to …
"The most significant aspect of the taser discharges is that they were all received in Kevin's back," Jill Craft, the attorney for Bajoie's parents, said Monday. "He was tased from behind."
In a court-filed answer to the suit, Senior Special Assistant Parish Attorney Greg Rome says the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner's Office performed an autopsy on Bajoie and the report "states that the only cause of death was Acute Mixed Drug Intoxication."
Dr. William "Beau" Clark, the coroner, has said there was methamphetamine, amphetamine and synthetic marijuana in Bajoie's system.
The East Baton Rouge coroner ruled Thursday as accidental a 32-year-old man’s death, which t…
But Craft said the coroner also found a significant amount of blunt force injuries "literally all over Kevin's body."
Sgt. Don Coppola, a Baton Rouge police spokesman, has said previously that an officer approached Bajoie, who was lying on his back, when Bajoie unexpectedly jumped up and tried to attack the officer. Two different officers used their stun guns on Bajoie, the second officer doing so after Bajoie continued to resist despite being shot once with a stun gun by another officer, Coppola said.
"The police officers did not use any force which was unnecessary or excessive under the circumstances or which rose to the level of a constitutional violation," Rome claims in the city-parish's answer to the suit.
If force was used on Bajoie, Rome adds, " then the only force used was that force reasonably necessary for the police officers to bring (him) under control in order to protect (his) life and safety, and to maintain the security of the situation."
In the lawsuit, Bajoie's parents say their son had been involved in a prior altercation and was unconscious, unarmed, wearing only boxer shorts and lying face down on the ground on Avenue C when officers arrived. Bajoie tried to stand but turned and fell face down again, unconscious, their suit claims
In addition to saying officers fired stun guns into their son's back, the Bajoies also claim he was repeatedly kicked and punched by police.