BATON ROUGE, La. – The U.S. Justice Department has cleared Baton Rouge police officers of accusations that they had harassed African Americans, used unnecessary force and conducted illegal searches in the days after Hurricane Katrina.
The department's finding, initially reported Tuesday by Louisiana broadcaster WAFB-TV, was confirmed by current interim chief Charles Mondrick and former chief Jeff LeDuff. Their statement said they were pleased but not surprised by the federal finding.
Public records showed New Mexico and Michigan state police raised accusations after withdrawing troopers who briefly assisted Baton Rouge police dealing with thousands of evacuees from flood-ravaged New Orleans, 70 miles to the southeast, in 2005.
The Justice Department had no immediate comment.