BATON ROUGE- An internal investigation is underway after a Baton Rouge Police officer was recorded on body camera video suggesting that, despite not having probable cause to search a vehicle, she would report whatever was found during a search as being found in plain view.
The WBRZ Investigative Unit learned of the investigation and obtained the footage Monday.
At least two other officers at the scene appeared to be uncomfortable with what the officer was saying and told her they needed "p-c" or probable cause. Probable cause is a standard in criminal law that allows officers to execute a search. Probable cause is not needed if something is in plain view.
Video of the interaction was leaked to WBRZ because the video is not a public record since it is part of a juvenile file. A source said the video was played in juvenile court recently and left everyone stunned.
Sources said the footage involves Officer Robin Ducote. Police confirmed in an email that the matter involving her was under investigation. Ducote was on patrol as of the television report Monday evening.
"I want to get her out of this truck, and let's search the truck," Officer Robin Ducote's body camera recorded her saying.
Another officer asked her, "Do you have p-c?"
"Yeah, they are both f****** passed out," Ducote responds. "So, if we find something, we say it's in plain view. Who gives a s***, we're writing this report."
Defense Lawyer Jarret Ambeau was shocked to see the video.
"I can't think a person willing to make these kinds of decisions should have a badge and be on the streets of Louisiana and dealing with our citizens on a regular basis," Ambeau said.
In 2014, we interviewed Ducote after she graduated from the BRPD academy.
"I don't like feeling like people are being wronged," Ducote said at the time. "I like to stand up for those who can't stand up for themselves and defend those who can't defend themselves. That's always been me, since I was little."
When another officer challenged Ducote on scene, she continued to say the report would cover them.
"I'm just trying to cover our a**," another officer said to Ducote.
"Oh, the report will," Ducote responded.
"The shame of this, really, is she undermines the credibility of good officers and good people who are protecting the public," Ambeau said. "Now we have to question how many of those are doing this."
Ambeau said the officer's actions should necessitate discipline at minimum and he would like to see a review of all the cases she handled that were prosecuted.
"Every single time she has said this report is accurate, we have to question whether or not it's accurate," Ambeau said. "Her credibility is completely shot based on the fact that she's willing to make it up."
The WBRZ Investigative Unit requested an interview with Baton Rouge Police. A spokesman said there would be no interview since the matter was under investigation. Baton Rouge Police said its investigation into this matter began on March 9, 2018.
District Attorney Hillar Moore said he was awaiting the results of the police department's investigation. Moore said Ducote is a decorated officer with multiple awards for her service to the community.
Ducote is assigned to Baton Rouge Police's third district.