By Matt Agorist
Baton Rouge, LA — In a recent revelation that sends chills down the spine of those familiar with the Homan Square revelations in Chicago, the Baton Rouge Police Department (BRPD) has come under intense scrutiny for allegations of a “torture warehouse” eerily echoing those harrowing tales. This disturbing discovery underscores a pervasive trend of covert police operations and the lengths some officers will go to abuse their power.
The BRPD is currently reeling from lawsuits and investigations relating to a facility dubbed the “Brave Cave.” Ternell Brown and Jeremy Lee, two victims of this ominous facility, have come forward with their experiences. Both their stories are a crude reminder of the unchecked power and brutal tactics that some police officers resort to.
For those unfamiliar, Homan Square in Chicago was a secretive police detention facility where detainees were reportedly held without legal counsel, subjected to physical abuse, and went missing from official records. The story of the “Brave Cave” draws chilling parallels.
Ternell Brown, a 47-year-old grandmother, narrates an ordeal of being “sexually humiliated” following unnecessary strip and body cavity searches, all stemming from a traffic stop due to window tint. Even after clarifying that she possessed legal prescription drugs, Brown was forcibly taken to the “Brave Cave,” where she underwent what her legal team terms illegal strip searches.
Similarly, Jeremy Lee’s experience sounds straight out of a dystopian narrative. Arrested and taken to the warehouse, Lee was allegedly subjected to such intense physical abuse that the jail demanded he receive hospital treatment before being admitted. Upon his arrival at the warehouse, the surveillance footage suggests that officers deliberately turned off their body cameras — a telling act that speaks volumes — before claiming he “charged” officers, giving them a reason to beat him to a pulp.
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While these incidents are harrowing, they are hardly isolated. Lee was detained simply for being found on a porch, suggesting that the threshold for being taken to such facilities is shockingly low.
Brown’s detention for a mere window tint and her subsequent treatment for possessing legal prescription drugs point to a system that is not merely broken but is actively predatory. These cases bring forth a crucial question: How many more individuals, detained for minor offenses or simple misunderstandings, have faced similar treatment?
Adding credence to the claims of Brown and Lee is the fact that multiple officers have since been arrested for their roles in the insidious facility. As BR Proud reports:
Three Baton Rouge police officers have been hit with criminal charges as investigators probe allegations that a street crime unit turned an unmarked warehouse dubbed the “Brave Cave” into a torture chamber where innocent people were assaulted, stripped, and subjected to body cavity searches, the police chief said Friday.
Deputy Chief Troy Lawrence Sr. was charged with simple battery, obstruction of justice, malfeasance in office and theft, and was placed on administrative leave, Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul said.
Sgt. Jesse Barcelona was charged with obstruction of justice, malfeasance in office and theft, Paul said. And Cpl. Todd Thomas was charged with theft, obstruction of justice, malfeasance in office and simple battery. Those two officers were also placed on leave.
An arrest warrant has also been issued for a fourth officer who faces a charge of malfeasance in office, Paul said. He identified the officer as Cpl. Douglas Hughes but gave no details about whether he was in custody.
Ryan Thompson, an attorney representing the victims, emphasizes the importance of due process, highlighting the glaring procedural breaches. Strip searches, as per the department policy, should involve medical professionals, supervisory clearance, and legal warrants. In the cases of both Brown and Lee, these protocols appear to have been conspicuously ignored.
While the focus is currently on Baton Rouge, we’re reminded of the broader issue at play. Homan Square was a stark indicator of covert police operations and unchecked authority. Now, with the revelations about the “Brave Cave,” it becomes evident that such practices are not limited to major cities like Chicago.
The fact that individuals like Brown and Lee, who were detained for minor infractions or even mere presence, were subjected to such dehumanizing treatments indicates a deeply entrenched culture of abuse. This is not merely about Baton Rouge or Chicago; this is about an insidious mindset that considers certain lives disposable, all in the name of intelligence gathering or maintaining an ostensible semblance of control.
The solution doesn’t lie only in shuttering these facilities or disbanding specific units, as the BRPD has claimed to do. It requires an in-depth reckoning with a system that allows for such abuses in the first place.
While the FBI investigation into the department continues, it’s imperative to keep the spotlight on these issues. For every Homan Square or “Brave Cave” discovered, how many remain hidden in the shadows?
Source: The Free Thought Project
Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor at Large at the Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on Twitter.
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