Police unions and three unnamed Baton Rouge police officers have asked to joined a legal fight to keep police from having to release internal affairs records from an investigation into allegations of brutality and excessive force after Hurricane Katrina, reports the Baton Rouge Advocate. State District Judge Kay Bates had not ruled on the intervention request filed by the Baton Rouge Union of Police, the Louisiana Union of Police Associations and the International Union of Police Associations. An intervention is a request to become a party in a lawsuit.
The unions and officers claim that “unfettered access to internal affairs investigative files … will undermine and eventually destroy the effectiveness of the internal affairs division,” the intervention request says. The Advocate and city-parish government filed lawsuits on July 5. The Advocate is seeking the records and the city-parish is asking Bates to declare what records must be released. The issue of police misconduct came up in September when troopers with New Mexico and Michigan stopped working with Baton Rouge Police. State police from New Mexico and Michigan filed complaints with Louisiana State Police. The complaints, which have not been made public, were passed on to Baton Rouge Police Chief Jeff LeDuff. New Mexico troopers reported seeing Baton Rouge officers punch handcuffed suspects, damage property, and fire Tasers at people who were not in custody.