Two BRPD officers with ties to Street Crimes Unit placed on leave

Two BRPD officers with ties to Street Crimes Unit placed on leave

Two Baton Rouge police officers, both of whom are connected with the now-closed Street Crimes Unit, were placed on administrative leave Tuesday.

Baton Rouge police say Sgt. Jesse Barcelona and Officer Todd Thomas were placed on paid leave, but the department did not provide further details other to say an investigation was ongoing.

A BRPD spokesman confirmed Thomas was a member of the Baton Rouge Street Crimes Unit before it was shuttered last month by Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome and Chief Murphy Paul. He currently is a member of the BRPD Special Response Team, which handles the department’s special operations.

Barcelona also is a member of the Special Response Team, according to Baton Rouge police. Prior to that, he served on the Street Crimes Unit as well.

The two officers were placed on leave the day after a new federal lawsuit was filed against the department, this time alleging a woman was illegally strip-searched at a BRPD facility, which several civil rights attorneys referred to as a “torture warehouse.”

The facility, where a 21-year-old man previously reported being severely beaten by officers, was permanently shut down last month.

Officials said last month that BRPD is conducting administrative and criminal investigations into how officers handled suspects at the warehouse; Paul said Monday that BRPD is also cooperating with federal investigators.


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