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A man was in the process of being arrested for marijuana possession when he died in police custody late Wednesday night, according to the Baton Rouge Police Department.

Officials have not determined a cause of death pending autopsy results.

The man was identified Thursday morning as Terry Baggett, 42, of Baker. The exact circumstances of his arrest are unclear, but officials said he first complained of a medical problem around 7 p.m. and was transported to the hospital for an evaluation. 

Police spokesman Sgt. L'Jean McKneely Jr. said hospital personnel examined Baggett and released him back into police custody around 11 p.m.

Baggett was then taken to the BRPD First District precinct office, where all arrestees go for processing before being booked into jail. He was being arrested for possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

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While at First District, McKneely said, officers noticed Baggett was "in some type of physical distress." Officers began to render aid and called for EMS assistance, McKneely said.

Their efforts were unsuccessful and Baggett died at the scene.

McKneely said the coroner's office was contacted and is performing an autopsy, which will reveal the exact cause of death.

Court records show Baggett had several prior drug arrests in East Baton Rouge and had just recently been released from prison in the weeks before his death. He pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute of marijuana in September 2019.


Email Lea Skene at lskene@theadvocate.com.