A decision by the U.S. Department of Justice to close an investigation of alleged wrongdoing by the Baton Rouge Police Department leaves many questions unanswered. The Department of Justice confirmed in March that it was investigating complaints that the New Mexico State Police made about the Baton Rouge Police Department after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The New Mexico State Police and Michigan State Police sent officers to Baton Rouge after Katrina to help the Baton Rouge Police Department with patrols. Officers from those out-of-state police agencies claimed in reports that Baton Rouge police officers routinely harassed black people, resorted to unnecessary violence and conducted illegal searches in the days after Katrina.
The Baton Rouge Police Department initially refused to release records of those complaints. The department released records of those complaints last year after a lengthy court battle in which The Advocate sued for access to the records and eventually prevailed in a decision by the Louisiana Supreme Court.