I-TEAM: New Brave Cave lawsuit alleges man faced ‘humiliating’ strip search

The Baton Rouge Police Department is facing yet another federal lawsuit.
Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 4:34 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Baton Rouge Police Department is facing yet another federal lawsuit tied to the infamous Brave Cave, a now closed warehouse that had been used by the now disbanded Street Crimes Unit for off-the-books questioning and alleged abuse for years. In the lawsuit, a man named Jason Jackson was allegedly taken there back on May 10, 2023 following a traffic stop near Memorial Stadium.

Attorney Ryan Thompson, who represents Jackson, says what happened to his client inside the facility was not only uncalled for but a clear violation of his rights that started from what he believes was an improper stop.

“The officer who made contact with him initially said that he was making some questionable movements inside the vehicle. What that means, we don’t know and at that point he was taken out of the vehicle, shackled at the hands and feet and place in the vehicle,” said Thompson. “According to him there was a search of his vehicle that was done by those officers but there was no real reason other than looking suspicious that he was stopped.

”Despite officers finding nothing inside the car, the attorney alleges Jackson was taken to the secretive warehouse anyway where he was allegedly handcuffed to a bar, forced to strip naked and he claims at least one of the four officers there grabbed his genitals while carrying out an illegal body cavity search.

”It’s very concerning in this instance because you have a man that did not commit a crime, that’s not alleged to have committed any crime and there was no contraband found on him who was sexually humiliated like this,” said Thompson.

At one point during the search, the lawsuit states officers told him they had a K9 inside the facility and that they would let the dog “tear him up” if he tried to run. According to his attorney, the search was so humiliating that while the man was bent over he started to cry. Hours later, Thompson tells the WAFB I-TEAM the cavity search turned up nothing and that’s when officers apologized before letting Jackson go without a ticket.

”That is sick, it’s sadistic and it’s criminal,” said Thompson. “There were no charges, no ticket, nothing. He was just released.”

This lawsuit adds to the more than a dozen complaints that have been filed with BRPD over the Brave Cave since the WAFB I-TEAM first exposed the secretive facility back in August. It also comes after four officers have already been arrested for their alleged roles in a reported beating and cover-up and as the FBI continues its probe into alleged abuses of power by officers within the agency.

”Where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” said Thompson.

Thompson says has reached out to BRPD but there’s no record of the traffic stop nor the search in any police reports or paper documents; however, he says the agency said there is body camera video of the encounter.

”There’s no documentation of the stop and the fact that they are now saying there’s an open criminal investigation which is why they won’t give me the body worn camera leads me to believe that he is indeed telling the truth,” said Thompson.

WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked Thompson why he believes police would not release this video even though leaders with the agency have preached transparency and released other videos in the past.

“I don’t know,” Thompson answered. “I believe that if there is something that is concerning or involving a criminal investigation I believe that it can be limited. So we believe that the body worn camera just involving the stop and the Brave Cave with him being returned back to his car can be released to the public, if not- his attorneys.”

WAFB did reach out to BRPD for comment on the allegations but a spokesman said they would not comment on existing litigation but that they have forwarded our request to administrative staff within the agency.

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