A Baton Rouge police officer who was placed on administrative leave last month in connection with a video that shows a lawman punching a teenage boy in downtown Baton Rouge has been back on duty since the beginning of May, but the internal investigation into the incident is ongoing, department spokesman Sgt. Don Coppola said Thursday.
Sgt. Todd Bourgoyne, an officer with the Baton Rouge Police Department’s Traffic Division who’s been employed by the department for 22 years, was put on paid leave April 19, a day after the video surfaced on The Rouge Collection, a local website.
The clip showed a person face-down on the ground during the Earth Day celebration on April 17 and struggling as officers tried to hold him down and handcuff him. One officer is seen punching the side of the person’s head multiple times.
A 16-year-old boy, Ja’Colby Davis, was identified by his mother, Danielle Todd, and his attorney, Shannon Battiste, as the person being struck in the video. Davis was arrested on counts of battery on a police officer and resisting a police officer with violence or force following the event, but he bonded out shortly after the arrest and is awaiting trial in juvenile court.
A police report of the arrest said officers confronted a “combative male” amid numerous fights among youths in the area.
Battiste and Todd deny that Davis had been attacking anyone.
The BRPD hasn’t explained what role Bourgoyne played in the beating seen in the video. Coppola said there’s no predetermined time frame for when officers must remain on leave, as each investigation is different.
Todd, Davis’ mother, said Thursday she had no idea Bourgoyne was back on duty.
“It’s very shocking to me because I feel like the investigation wasn’t over,” she said.
Bourgoyne’s personnel file includes several commendations, including a Service Injury Award for surviving multiple fractures requiring surgeries and months of rehabilitation following an on-duty vehicle crash for which he was not at fault, according to one of the documents.
Bourgoyne’s file also includes evidence of his suspension in 2000 after he confessed that he kissed a woman and fondled her on the night her boyfriend called authorities to complain about a domestic issue at her residence. The incident was chronicled in contemporaneous news articles. Bourgoyne wasn’t fired after the event and the detailed internal affairs documents of the incident were expunged, though other records show he was suspended.
Coppola said he’s not aware of any other officers being placed on leave in connection to the Earth Day altercation.
Follow Maya Lau on Twitter, @mayalau.