A Baton Rouge police officer was cleared of any wrongdoing for striking a restrained 16-year-old boy several times in the head at the city’s annual Earth Day event in an incident caught on video last April.
The department found there was “insufficient evidence” to support a complaint against Sergeant Todd Bourgoyne in the beating of Ja’Colby Davis, according to the Baton Rouge Advocate.
“The internal affairs complaint against the policeman, Sgt. Todd Bourgoyne, was found to be “not sustained” by Chief Carl Dabadie Jr. on August 25, according to police spokesman Lt. Jonny Dunnam, meaning investigators didn’t find evidence of wrongdoing or a violation of department policy.”
Bourgoyne, a 22-year veteran of the department, was placed on administrative leave with pay following the incident but was quietly placed back on active duty two weeks later, four months before the conclusion of the investigation, even though this wasn’t the first time Bourgoyne has been investigated by the department for his conduct.
“The officer was suspended for 87 days in early 2000 after admitting he kissed, hugged and sexually touched a woman in her apartment the same night she’d called police to report a domestic dispute with her boyfriend, according to contemporaneous reports in The Advocate.
Bourgoyne initially denied the woman’s allegations to both internal affairs investigators and the police chief before admitting to the complaint and accepting the punishment, which also included a stipulation that Bourgoyne undergo an evaluation to see if he should get treatment.
While testifying at a later unrelated civil service hearing for another officer, then-Police Chief Greg Phares said Bourgoyne’s actions may have constituted sexual battery and that, in retrospect, “I would probably take different and more severe action.” An editorial by The Advocate at the time criticized the suspension and called for Bourgoyne’s dismissal.”
Police had accused Davis of fighting with other teens, but he said he was just a bystander. Charges of battery on a police officer and resisting arrest were dismissed in April.
He has since filed a federal lawsuit claiming that Bourgoyne and another officer, Blane Salamoni, illegally arrested him before initiating the “brutal beating.”
You may recognize the second officer’s name because he is one of the officers involved in the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling this summer.
Sterling’s death sparked several protests in Baton Rouge that were met with a large militarized police response.
“Salamoni, who wrote the police report for Davis’ arrest, is currently on paid leave while the FBI and the federal Department of Justice investigates the July 5 fatal shooting of Alton Sterling in a North Foster Drive convenience store parking lot. Salamoni was identified to The Advocate by a source as the officer who shot Sterling. That investigation remains ongoing.”
Watch the video below.