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LSU wide receiver Koy Moore (2) works in a drill at practice, Thursday, March 18, 2021, at the LSU football practice facility in Baton Rouge, La.

After the Baton Rouge Police Department released bodycam footage Tuesday showing a tense interaction between three BRPD officers and an LSU football player last fall, the police chief said neither party did anything wrong. 

The November incident garnered widespread media attention after LSU wide receiver Koy Moore posted about it on social media, saying the cops harassed and violated him. When the three officers involved were largely cleared of wrongdoing several weeks ago, their attorney accused Moore of lying about what happened. 

Meanwhile, BRPD leaders waited five months before releasing the bodycam footage to show the public how everything actually unfolded. Officials said they were waiting until the internal investigation process had concluded.

During a Tuesday afternoon press conference, Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul walked a fine line in his remarks about the footage, asking members of the public to treat both the cops and Moore with empathy. He said some officers will receive additional training to hopefully help them avoid a similar interaction in the future.

He also acknowledged that the experience was traumatic for Moore — in part because of generational trauma involving law enforcement and the Black community.

"I hope this incident will foster uncomfortable conversations but also meaningful dialogue that will allow our community to grow," Paul said. "Policing isn't easy. It's a complex profession."

Attorneys for Moore praised the police chief for taking the incident seriously, but slammed the officers involved.

"These BRPD officers displayed an utter lack of professionalism or understanding toward two college students. Both young men remained completely unaware of why they were being stopped and harassed," attorneys Mark Glago and Jatavian Williams said in a statement Tuesday.

The video paints a clear picture of the incident, which lasted less than three minutes and occurred in the parking garage of an apartment building near campus. Police were responding to a complaint from the building security guard, who said there were kids partying on the rooftop and blasting music.

The officers were driving through the garage with their sirens on when they spotted Moore and his friend, Alabama wide receiver Traeshon Holden, who was visiting that weekend. The two young men were "suspiciously hiding behind vehicles," Deputy Chief Myron Daniels said during the press conference.

The footage shows officers approach Moore and Holden at gunpoint, ordering them to "put your hands on the car." Holden quickly complies, while Moore appears to hesitate. The officers respond with more urgent demands: "Hands on the f***ing car. Do not grab, you understand? You can put your phone down. Stop grabbing things."

"I don't care how your feelings feel right now," the lead responding officer tells Moore. The same officer appears to pat Moore down and remove an iPhone from the waistband of his pants. Officials declined to release the names of the officers involved.

"I don't have nothing. You can check me. I play football," Moore says. "You want me to take off my shoes too?"

The officer then uses his flashlight to check the area where the young men were initially spotted. He finds nothing incriminating. Meanwhile a second officer pats Moore down.

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"You scared me when you pointed a gun at me," Moore says.

"When you don't listen and I don't know what you have on you, I fear for my life then, OK?" the officer responds.

Moore explains that he lives in the apartment building and was going to grab food. The encounter ends with the officers telling Moore and his friend to carry on with what they were doing, and the two young men are seen walking away across the parking garage. 

During the BRPD internal affairs process, investigators reviewed the video of the encounter and performed an audit of bodycam footage of all officers involved going back six months, officials said.

Two officers were found to have violated department policies, but they received letters of caution, a minor form of reprimand that is not considered formal discipline. Both displayed conduct unbecoming of an officer by using profanity during the encounter, and one also violated a report writing policy, officials said.

The lead officer will receive procedural justice training, Paul said — something all new cadets now receive during academy, though some of their veteran colleagues have slipped through the cracks.

The training, which is becoming more common across various law enforcement agencies, focuses on improving interactions with the public, especially people from underserved communities that historically have experienced a fraught relationship with police. Paul said the importance of acknowledging those histories should not be overlooked.

Procedural justice includes several basic tenets such as treating people with respect and maintaining a calm and neutral presence.

Moore's attorneys said they were satisfied with how BRPD leaders responded to the incident. They said Moore stands by his social media post, which claimed the officers pulled guns on him, assuming he had a weapon and drugs. He said his phone was taken away while he tried to video what was happening and that the incident ended when he said he was an LSU football player.

He also said he was "violated numerous times" with the cops even trying to unzip his pants. The video does not reveal whether that happened during the pat downs.

LSU football coach Ed Orgeron commented on the issue Tuesday evening during a media briefing.

"First of all, I'm really grateful Koy is safe," he said. "I'm thankful for the Baton Rouge Police Department for being transparent with us throughout the whole process. Hopefully it's something that we can all learn from and move forward."

Advocate staff writer Brooks Kubena contributed to this report. 


Email Lea Skene at lskene@theadvocate.com.