Police Abuse

Baton Rouge Cops Strip-Searched a Minor During a Traffic Stop and Entered a Family's Home Without a Warrant. The City Just Settled for $35,000.

The case is an indictment on just how hard it is to get accountability when the government violates your rights.

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A Baton Rouge, Louisiana, family has settled with the city for $35,000 after officers conducted a pretextual traffic stop, strip-searched a minor in public, and conducted a warrantless home entry that resulted in a man spending five months behind bars. The officers' actions were so egregious that they attracted the ire of a federal judge.

A civil suit filed by the family of Clarence Green was formally dismissed last week after the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Council agreed to the payout in lieu of a jury trial. Such a result is highly unusual and is perhaps a commentary on just how much of a legal loser the city knew this case to be. It's also a reminder of how difficult it is to get meaningful accountability when the government violates our rights. After all, the modest sum awarded to Green's family will ultimately be paid by the taxpayers, the criminal charges against Green were only dropped after he spent five months behind bars, and the cop at the center of the scandal already had multiple complaints against him prior to that day.

On January 1, 2020, Baton Rouge Police Department (BRPD) Sergeant Ken Camallo, who had been checking vacant residences while searching for someone suspected of theft, abandoned that mission after seeing a car with out of state plates in front of a "known drug house." According to BRPD incident reports obtained by Reason, Camallo stopped the car for "suspicious driving."

Behind the wheel was a woman named Kayleen Butler. Camallo ordered her and her passengers—23-year-old Clarence Green, his 16-year-old brother (whose name is withheld in court documents because he is a minor), another unnamed passenger, and a young female child—to exit the vehicle.

According to the police report, Camallo claimed he "smelled marijuana," so the officers placed Clarence and his brother in handcuffs. The officers then pulled down their underwear while they stood on the public street, exposing their genitals, and searched for drugs.

According to the initial incident report, the officers found a firearm in Green's "underware." Because he was then on probation for possession of Oxycodone, Green was prohibited from possessing a gun. The report also stated that the cops found marijuana on Green's younger brother.

The officers then paid a visit to the Greens' home. "Sgt. transported GREEN and his co-defendant juvenile brother to their residence (REDACTED) in an attempt to release the juvenile to his mother," according to the report. The cops entered the residence with guns brandished and without a warrant.

It wasn't until after they finished the search that they allowed the mother, Tanya Green, to see her children. At that time, the officers sought to convince Clarence's 16-year-old brother to consent to a DNA swab.

"Call a lawyer," said Clarence, his statement captured in the body camera footage, while he sat handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser.

"If you don't shut the fuck up," responded Officer Troy Lawrence Jr., "I'm gonna come in and I'm gonna fuck you up…You think I'm playing with you? I will fuck you up."

Green was ultimately indicted for unlawful possession of a firearm. He would sit in jail for several months—until the government abruptly sought to drop the charges with little explanation.

The federal judge overseeing the case granted the state's request. Then, in an unorthodox move, he issued a scathing rebuke to the prosecution, noting that the cops involved may very well be guilty of criminal wrongdoing.

"The state agents in this case demonstrated a serious and wanton disregard for Defendant's constitutional rights, first by initiating a traffic stop on the thinnest of pretext, and then by haphazardly invading Defendant's home (weapons drawn) to conduct an unjustified, warrantless search," wrote Judge Brian A. Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana. "Such an intrusion, in abject violation of the protections afforded by the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which protects citizens against unwarranted governmental intrusions in their homes, may justifiably be considered to be a trespass subject to prosecution under" Louisiana law.

And that may not be the extent of the officers' misdeeds. Thomas Frampton, the lawyer for the Green family, argues that the officers also violated both the Constitution and state law when they strip-searched the brothers on the street. "The Supreme Court has said that officers may conduct a 'frisk'—meaning a brief pat-down of the outer garments—if the offer has a reasonable suspicion that the individual is armed," Frampton says. "The reason that's okay, according to the Court, is because a properly conducted pat down is ostensibly non-invasive. A strip search on a public sidewalk, however, is something else altogether."

In his opinion, Judge Jackson also noted that Sergeant Camallo "gave multiple conflicting accounts when describing the circumstances leading up to [Green's] traffic stop, and failed to offer a satisfactory explanation for why the police reports in this investigation were revised nearly one dozen times" after Green was arrested.

A review of a November 2020 hearing transcript, where Camallo testified, shows that his story indeed evolved. Though he mentioned the "drug house," Camallo centered the traffic stop around "a small child who was in the front passenger seat" sitting in someone's lap, a traffic infraction that he said he enforced regularly.

The justification for the officers' entry into the Greens' home is also under dispute. An updated police report stated that Tanya Green provided "written consent" to search Clarence's bedroom, where the police found two additional firearms, though the body camera footage does not corroborate any such consent, and Tanya denies providing it. Camallo was not pressed on that inconsistency while under oath.

During that same November 2020 hearing, Judge Jackson did ask the prosecution if there was anything the court needed to know about the officers involved. "The court has the right to test the credibility of the officer," Jackson said. "And if there are events that occurred with respect to the officer's credibility, either before the incident or after the incident, the court is certainly entitled to be aware of any such information."

"I would agree with that judge," responded Assistant U.S. Attorney Kashan Pathan.

It would appear that there was plenty of material about "the credibility of the officer" for Pathan to share with the court, though the prosecutor did not do so. In 2017, a different federal judge discarded all the evidence in a case against a man who was facing similar illegal weapons and drug charges. The reason? Sergeant Ken Camallo conducted a warrantless search on the man's trailer and improperly seized materials when there were "no exigent circumstances present."

"This officer has served on the force for 20 plus years," Pathan said at the November hearing. "He's been found to be credible." Yet it was the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Louisiana, Pathan's own office, that was forced to drop the 2017 case based on Camallo's misconduct. When asked under oath, Camallo responded that his record was clean.

Camallo had also racked up a laundry list of complaints reaching back to 2007. He currently has several open actions against him for untruthfulness, according to the internal affairs documentation of his history on the force. The latest disciplinary charge was filed against him on February 21 of this year. (That same internal affairs review shows no pending discipline against Officer Lawrence, who told Green, "I'm gonna fuck you up," for his actions that day.)

Neither the Baton Rouge Police Department, East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore III, nor the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Louisiana replied to multiple requests for comment.

This case is replete with the sort of eyebrow-raising conduct that bleeds into much of modern policing. There was the stop itself, set in motion with minimal pretext and an ever-changing story that Camallo himself never fully nailed down.

What came next—a strip search of a juvenile in public and a man spending months behind bars—was inspired by the supposed stench of marijuana. Remember that Camallo had been looking for someone who was suspected of committing theft, a cause he tossed aside in favor of a traffic stop. Perhaps there is a reason that BRPD's violent crime clearance rate—the statistic used to evaluate how effectively police are at solving such offenses—is a mere 26.6 percent. That's 16.7 percent below the national average, which is already dismal.

Judge Jackson said it best when he upbraided the prosecutors and police. "It is appropriate to remind the Government," he wrote, "of its paramount obligation to seek and serve justice, not convictions."

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  2. Only $35,000? Sounds like the victim wasn’t the right color to justify a higher amount.

    1. “The city just settled for $35,000”. It should read “The city settled for just $35,000”.

      1. >>5.25.2021 5:10 PM

        agreement was reached @5:08?

      2. The city just settled for just $35,000.

        1. A sum that many are calling unjust.

          1. Apparently the victim didn’t agree, since, you know, they settled.

    2. Disgraceful amount. They couldn’t find a better lawyer to sue the balls off everyone involved?

      1. Tells you there’s more to the story. Why didn’t national media pick this up…

        1. Democrats must be involved. They’re journalistic interest Kryptonite.

        2. “Tells you there’s more to the story…”

          Or at least suggests such. AF (After Floyd) the legacy media is racist in the extreme.

    3. $35,000 in lotto tickets.

    4. Watch the video. The boys who were strip searched were black.

      I’m usually pretty supportive of police but this is outrageous. Has that cop been fired?

      1. They’re black and that made it outrageous? It’s Baton Rouge. Everyone committing crime in BR is black. Police excluded.

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  4. A Baton Rouge, Louisiana, family has settled with the city for $35,000

    That figure *must* be off by a few orders of magnitude!

  5. Yep the pay off was 35 cents…. Ohhhh other direction.

    “call a lawyer” this is a smart man. The only thing you say to a cop is lawyer

  6. “Baton Rouge Cops Strip-Searched a Minor During a Traffic Stop and Entered a Family’s Home Without a Warrant. The City Just Settled for $35,000.”

    That’s terrible but it’s also pretty typical.

    I heard an unarmed protester was killed by the Capitol police for trespassing on public property.

    It wasn’t here. I heard about it somewhere else.

    1. Exactly, over the years I’ve gone from police defender to nut punch reader and now I don’t give a crap either way.

      Police behaviour only seems to matter depending on the profile of the victims, I therefore can’t be arsed mustering up an ounce of outrage for the cases that further their political causes..so, fuck em.

      Like I say for most organisations today, you can regain my custom, interest and support when you start working for it.

    2. How could you have missed it? Reason did a series of articles on Ashli Babbitt.

      1. Yes, they just used the pseudonym ‘George Floyd’

  7. Exactly, over the years I’ve gone from police defender to nut punch reader and now I don’t give a crap either way.

    Police behaviour only seems to matter depending on the profile of the victims, I therefore can’t be arsed mustering up an ounce of outrage for the cases that further their political causes..so, fuck em.

    Like I say for most organisations today, you can regain my custom, interest and support when you start working for it.

  8. The officers then pulled down their underwear while they stood on the public street, exposing their genitals, and searched for drugs.

    I thought this story was supposed to be about what the cops did to other people.

    1. Was the minor charged with indecent exposure?

      1. No, he was of course arrested for child pornography.

  9. “known drug house.”

    Why is such a thing allowed to exist? I mean, seriously, is there no law to stop such a location from operating as such, or should we just assume the city is a partner in the business?

    1. A friend of mine has a rental home with a meth addict tenant who has taken in other meth addicts as roommates in violation of the lease. Thanks to democrats here in WA, it’s nearly impossible to get rid of her. Even after the eviction moratorium enacted by Gov. Dimslee expires it will take months to get her out even without legal challenge.

      Her best bet would be to pay some people to muscle the meth head out. As the law and the courts are an utter failure. Thanks to democrats.

      How much more are we going to take before we rid ourselves of the root cause of our problems (democrats)?

      1. You must be on the Left side of the State…

        The East sides in better shape

  10. ACAB….especially in Lousyanna.

  11. A C A B especially in Lousyanna.

  12. Has Reason Magazine reported the false information supplied by
    Assistant U.S. Attorney Kashan Pathan
    to the State Bar for misconduct

  13. Just keep repeating “it’s just a few bad apples.”

    1. It is just a few bad orchards.

    2. 90% of the cops make the other 10% look bad!

    3. The correct saying is “A few bad apples spoil the whole barrel”.

      Would you still like to keep saying “it’s just a few bad apples”?

  14. So, the cops are scum. And the people are scum. Nuke ’em all.

  15. Why did this end up in federal court? The weapons charge or did I miss something? Anyway if you want to talk about police reform this is the kind of shit that could actually be addressed and it’s not complicated. Criminal cops should face criminal charges for depriving people of their rights under color of law. These assholes won’t even lose a days pay. QI is a problem but the informal immunity from criminal prosecution that cops enjoy and that prosecutors enforce is a much bigger one. If the victims are working class white people or so it would seem.

    1. Agreed. There is an ill-conceived hesitancy to prosecute police for a few reasons, but they mostly boil down to A) people in positions of power (including other cops) know that cops break the law far more often then they admit and B) they fear that prosecuting police misconduct vigorously will thereby leave us with no police. This is silly. Most police commit “minor” crimes (perjury, illegal entry, pretextual deprivation of rights, illegal threats) because it is expected that they will face no consequences. If it becomes known that they might actually catch charges for it, they’ll stop. Police are happy to risk a minor dressing down in court if they are caught lying to give you a ticket to boost their performance review, but would they risk several months of jail? Heck no.

      But if the majority of police wanted to actually uphold the law when it comes to other police, this would have happened years ago. It has to be externally forced, and that means it has to be disruptive.

    2. The article said it was a civil suit filed by the family. I’m guessing a suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 for deprivation of rights under color of law. It’s a federal law, so the federal courts would have federal question subject matter jurisdiction.

      1. But I haven’t read the court documents, so this is somewhat speculative.

  16. Meanwhile people walking around taking selfies at the capitol are still in jail. Reason failed to write up about that.

    1. Huh. People who break the law are in jail.

      1. “People who break the law are in jail.”

        Scumbag here is just fine with life sentences for trespassing; at least is isn’t the death penalty like that poor woman protestor.
        Tell us again, oh scumbag, how they intended to overthrow the republic with empty ‘pipe bombs’ and flex-cuffs. Your stupidity is at least amusing.

      2. Why are people who committed no violent crimes denied bail?

        1. Violence against the state is the worst kind of violent crime there is, little man.

          The state makes the rules, see.

  17. “It is appropriate to remind the Government,” he wrote, “of its paramount obligation to seek and serve justice, not convictions.”

    AND YET…

    1. cities are not government. They are corporations. THERES the whole problem!

  18. This whole time Buttplug is a cop?!

    1. 1) Liar? – check.
      2) Dumber than a rock? – check.
      3) Kiddy-diddler? – check.
      4) Drug habit? – check.
      Looking awfully good.

  19. It’s well oiled machine of never ending shitting on the constitution down here and just to confuse the fuck out you they think they hate big govt.

    1. “It’s well oiled machine of never ending shitting on the constitution down here and just to confuse the fuck out you they think they hate big govt.”

      It’s a good bet the steaming pile of lefty shit, now in his third year of 6th grade, assumes that means something other than under-age drunkenness.

  20. O/T: Congratulations to Team Red in Montana. In the name of “election integrity”, they just made it illegal for nursing home staff to transport absentee ballots to/from their residents.

    https://www.npr.org/2021/05/25/999904063/advocates-fear-montanas-new-ballot-law-could-harm-voters-who-struggle-to-be-hear

    1. Nursing homes, where all the Democrats are?

      1. “Nursing homes, where all the Democrats are?”

        Shitstain here confuses where idiots might go with where they were compelled to go by the murderous D governor Cuomo.
        But shitstain is in equally bad company with commie-kid who attempted to trivialize the ~25K civilian deaths with the 100,000,000 caused by his heroes!

      2. It goes like this. Voting is not a right, it is a privilege, that must be earned. In order to earn that privilege, citizens must pass certain tests, so that they may be deemed worthy of casting a ballot. The test has many components of course. There is the test of mental ability. Do you have a solid understanding of every issue? Are you voting for a “right” reason? Then there is the test of skill and cunning. Can you navigate the labyrinthine maze of requirements and regulations and restrictions in order to show up at the polling place at the designated hour? And then there is the test of physical fitness. Can you physically stand in line, for hours (bring your own water of course – no fair if anyone gives you water, that’s cheating!), despite the weather, despite the requirements of all the rest of your daily life, in order to do your patriotic duty to cast a ballot? And then, and only then, if you pass all of these tests, THEN you have earned the privilege of casting a ballot in our great Republic. Nursing home patients obviously fail the physical fitness test for voting so, too bad for them.

        1. I’d say huge swathes of traditional Republican voters are going to struggle with those obstacles, especially since they think their vote is a wasted effort anyway.

          Meanwhile Democratic voters know their votes count and feel that right is under direct assault.

          It’s comforting to keep in mind that not dealing with geniuses here.

          1. “I’d say huge swathes of traditional Republican voters are going to struggle with those obstacles, especially since they think their vote is a wasted effort anyway.”

            Shitstain once again offers a steaming pile of lefty bullshit; s/he never has done otherwise.

          2. Dems know their vote count 2 3 or 4 times

            1. 9 out of 10 voting machines prefer Democrats!

            2. If only it were more.

        2. According to the pile of lefty shit, any claim to be a voter within the limits stated are totally irrelevant; if you, or a claimed relative can fog a mirror, you are a “voter”
          Now, tell us, steaming pile of lefty shit, why voting should not be a result of something like an ability to deliver an address where you might actually live?

          1. Because there’s not an existing problem to solve with that bureaucratic obstacle, libertarian.

  21. Judge Jacksons a LIAR.

    Cities and cops ARENOT GOVERNMENT.

    NO. Constitution in the US created either as Government.

    They are Corporations.

  22. “search Clarence’s bedroom, where the police found two additional firearms, though the body camera footage does not corroborate any such consent,”

    So were the firearms from a gun buy -back so the crooked cop could plant them as evidence?

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  27. misconduct vigorously will thereby leave us with no police. This is silly. Most police commit “minor” crimes (perjury, illegal entry, pretextual deprivation of rights, illegal threats) because it is expected that they will face no consequences. If it becomes known that they might actually catch charges for it, they’ll stop. Police are happy to risk a minor dressing down in court if they are caught lying to give you a ticket to boost their performance review, but would they risk several months of jail? Heck no.

    But if the majority of police wanted to actually uphold the law when it comes to other police, this would have happened years ago. It has to be externally forced, and that means it has to be disruptive. https://wapexclusive.com

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