State Police have completed their probe into the October scuffle involving two Brusly police officers and a middle school student — a confrontation captured on school surveillance cameras that has since drawn concern from residents and local officials who have pledged to hold the officers accountable.
The case will be presented later this month to a West Baton Rouge grand jury, which will determine whether the officers will ultimately face charges. No arrests have been made thus far but both officers have resigned from the department amid questions about whether their actions constituted excessive force.
State Police spokesman Senior Trooper Bryan Lee said Monday that investigators have handed over their report to the West Baton Rouge District Attorney's Office after completing it Thursday. And Assistant District Attorney Tony Clayton said the case will go before a grand jury on Dec. 13.
The grandmother of a middle schooler involved in a scuffle with a Brusly police officer last month — a confrontation caught by a school office…
Clayton said the grand jury will hear from school staff who witnessed the struggle and from the Brusly police chief as well as State Police investigators and the two officers in question. It's important for grand jurors to hear from all sides and make a decision based on the totality of information available, Clayton said.
Dozens of residents gathered Monday evening in Brusly to demand justice on behalf of the student involved in the case. The group marched together to Town Hall, where some spoke before local officials during a scheduled town council meeting.
"We want the facts," Shaeeta Williams, a former teacher whose son attends Brusly Middle School, told the town council. "This is a situation that upset many of us. And we come in peace, but we also come disturbed and upset and confused on how the situation took place."
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Williams said she hopes members of the grand jury will approach the case with an open mind.
"This is about opening our eyes and realizing that we are all each other's keepers. We have to know the heartbeat of what's going on with our children in our schools," she said. "The elephant in the room is racial tension. This is not just an issue in Brusly — we see it throughout Louisiana and across the country. But as a black mother, that is a concern for me: that a child could be mistreated because of the color of his skin."
Controversy surrounding the incident has continued to grow after surveillance footage was leaked to the media last month. The videotape shows Officer Anthony "Kip" Dupre wrestling the Brusly Middle School student to the ground and then picking him up and slamming him to the floor during an encounter on Oct. 5. Dupre claimed the student had reached for his service weapon and the video appears to show the officer handing his holstered gun to a school staffer during the encounter in the school's administrative office.
A second officer, Dan Cipirano, arrived near the end of the struggle and helped handcuff the student. Both officers were placed on paid leave but have since resigned. Neither had his body camera on during the scuffle.
Brusly Police Chief Jonathan Lefeaux requested a State Police investigation after viewing the surveillance footage, which he has described as deeply concerning. He also requested that both officers resign from the department before that investigation had concluded.
Video footage of a police officer wrestling with a 14-year-old Brusly Middle School student last month has leaked in the midst of a Louisiana …
Attorney Kwame Asante, who is representing the family of the middle school student, told reporters last week that the child's family believes they were deceived and that authorities were not open about the officer's actions until the video came to light publicly. He and the boy's grandmother believe the child was physically and psychologically injured in the encounter, which they have described as a civil rights violation.
The family is considering a lawsuit, possibly against both the school system and the police department.
Baton Rouge activist Arthur "Silky Slim" Reed — who received media attention after his public comments about the 2016 police shooting of Alton Sterling — attended the Brusly council meeting Monday night. He came wearing a noose around his neck to make a statement about police brutality against the black community, arguing that people should take incidents like this more seriously.
"If we don't catch the small issues like this, then they turn into big issues. And that's when you see young men being killed by the same types of police officers," he said. "It's bad. It's very bad and it's being treated like it's no big deal. So we need to let people know that this is a very serious issue … and our eyes are on Brusly."
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