A Baton Rouge police officer was suspended for 15 days after bodycam footage from an incident in December showed him yelling obscenities and pointing his stun gun at people congregating outside LSU's Tigerland bars past closing time.
The incident occurred around 2 a.m. on Dec. 29, several hours after LSU beat Oklahoma 63-28 in the 2019 Peach Bowl. Records show that Officer Stefan Jones, who joined the Baton Rouge Police Department two years ago, served his suspension last month.
He was responding to a call about crowds that wouldn't disperse when the incident occurred, a BRPD spokesman confirmed. An internal investigation later concluded Jones violated the department's policies on command of temper, on conduct unbecoming an officer and on carrying out orders, according to disciplinary records released to The Advocate in response to a public records request.
The investigation was launched after Jones' supervisor raised concerns after reviewing the bodycam footage from that night, beginning when the officer pulls his stun gun "with no commands given and no target near" in an apparent attempt to get the crowd's attention and get them to disperse, officials wrote in discipline records. Jones then started telling people to go home, though his language devolved into obscenities and other offensive rhetoric.
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An internal affairs investigator gave the following account of what happened based on the bodycam footage:
"Go the f*** home, man," Jones said to one of the people congregating. "For real, bro. Like y'all trippin."
Another bystander appears "surprised by Officer Jones' choice of words" and remarks out loud, "Listen to him!"
Jones, who is Black, later addresses one person as "little motherf*****" and uses the N-word. The officer also threatens to "beat his ass right here" in reference to another person, and tells a group: "Go home! I'm a tell you one more time. After that, I'm shooting you."
He continues pointing his Taser at people while the group is dispersing and arcs the stun gun, meaning it sparks and crackles but doesn't deploy. He follows some members of the group far enough that he later comments he's tired while walking back to his patrol car.
The internal investigation concluded Jones violated department policies, and he signed a consent discipline agreement with Police Chief Murphy Paul. The agreement means he can't appeal the discipline, which would result in a public appeal hearing before the municipal civil service board.
This marks the second recent incident involving inappropriate actions from a BRPD officer responding to calls outside the Tigerland bars. Marshall McDermitt was fired from the department after he was caught on video repeatedly punching a bloodied man in the face outside one of the bars, which are popular among LSU students. McDermitt has appealed his termination; the civil service board has not yet heard his case.
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The department's discipline guidelines allow the chief to suspend officers without pay, which places them behind their peers when seeking promotions. They can be suspended for up to 90 days, terminated outright or demoted in rank. The state's civil service laws allow officers to appeal their discipline unless they've signed a consent agreement, which is what Jones did.
BRPD outfitted all its officers with body cameras after the 2016 police shooting of Alton Sterling prompted widespread reforms. Supervising officers are required to review a certain amount of bodycam footage from their subordinates each month to monitor their behavior.
The department also changed its policy on releasing bodycam footage to the public not long after Paul took office. Following the fatal police shooting of an armed domestic violence suspect at a Tigerland apartment complex earlier this week, the chief quickly released limited video to demonstrate that officers likely acted according to department policies when they fired more than a dozen rounds into the apartment as the suspect approached them brandishing a gun.