Three police officers in Baton Rouge are on paid administrative leave after allegedly harassing a local Black college football star, unzipping his pants and confiscating his phone so that he could not record the incident.
Koy Moore, a freshman who plays wide receiver at Louisiana State University (LSU), said Saturday in a tweet that’s been shared over 10,000 times that the officers approached him and “violated” him in an attempt to find drugs and weapons in his possession, screaming, “Where’s your gun?”
“I was violated numerous times even going as far as trying to unzip my pants in search of a weapon that I repeatedly told them I did not have,” Moore wrote. “As I tried to go live for video documentation of the harassment, they snatched my phone. I could have lost my life, and I know for a fact nothing would’ve happened to the guys who did it."
He went on to say there’s no telling what could have happened if he hadn’t eventually informed the officers that he was a student at LSU.
Moore received an outpouring of support from fans and LSU faculty, including his football coach Ed Orgeron, who also wrote about the incident on social media.
“While I cannot comment on the investigation, what I can say is that we must work collectively to embrace our differences,” Orgeron said. “We have to listen, learn, and come together to combat social injustice and racism if we are to create a safer and more equitable society for all.”
LSU’s official Twitter account retweeted Orgeron’s post, adding that the school echoes “the sentiment shared by Coach Ed Orgeron.”
While the identity of the three officers placed on paid leave has not yet been made public, Baton Rouge Police Department Chief Murphy Paul said he’d been in contact with Moore about the incident, and an investigation was underway.
"We appreciate Mr. Moore bringing this incident to our attention,” Chief Paul said in a statement Monday. “As in every case, we will be collecting all available evidence and conducting interviews. Accountability and transparency are critical in building trust with the community. I pledge a thorough investigation into this complaint."
Moore’s encounter with Baton Rouge officers once again highlights a prominent ongoing issue in modern American politics.
Earlier this year, the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement sparked months of ongoing international protests calling out police brutality and the need for serious reform in the policing of Black neighborhoods.
These protests have continued into the fall as more Black men and women, like Walter Wallace Jr. in Philadelphia and Daniel Prude in Rochester, New York, have died in police custody. Racial justice was one of two major issues that brought young people to the polls last week, according to a VICE News study published last month, contributing in part to Joe Biden’s victory over President Donald Trump.