Attorneys describe ‘horrific’ conditions inside of Brave Cave, secretive police interrogation site

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – Defense attorney, for the first time Friday, visited the Baton Rouge Police Department (BRPD) interrogation facility known as the “Brave Cave where suspects were allegedly interrogated and illegally strip-searched by officers.

“I got to see and relive exactly what my clients went through today. I’m shaken by it. I think the community should be shaken by it,” said Ryan Thompson, a defense attorney currently suing BRPD over claims that some of his clients were brutalized inside the building.

“It hits differently being there. It hit differently,” said attorney Ron Haley, who is also suing BRPD over its policies and use of strip searches.

Those attorneys were granted access to the facility by a federal judge. The judge’s order allowed them to inspect the building.

This comes months after a judge ruled that the BRPD facility be kept in its current condition to preserve any evidence of wrongdoing tied to allegations in more than a dozen complaints that have been filed related to alleged police misconduct and illegal strip searches inside the building.

Attorneys say that even though much of the inside of the Brave Cave has been altered, what is left behind is concerning.

“Being inside of that space is profoundly effecting. “I don’t see how anyone could walk through the Brave Cave, even as the cleared out shell of what it was, and don’t have any visceral response to what happened there,” said Thomas Frampton, another defense attorney present for the walkthrough Friday.

The WAFB I-TEAM was first to uncover allegations of abuse that were carried out inside the facility. The initial case the I-TEAM reported on involved the alleged beating of Jeremy Lee inside the facility in January 2023.

Amid WAFB’s reporting into the Brave Cave, East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome ordered the facility to be permanently shut down. The mayor also ordered former Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul to disband the Street Crimes Unit that operated out of the Brave Cave.

Paul also launched criminal and internal investigations into the facility and alleged abuses there.

In addition, the FBI formally launched its own probe into the facility and the Baton Rouge Police Department.

Attorneys connected to the case have questioned the transparency involved in these cases despite the department saying publicly that there are a number of cameras inside the facility and that the space had been used as a processing center for some time. Attorney Ryan Thompson recently raised concerns about the lack of video in many of the instances where he said his clients were taken to the Brave Cave.

While more than a dozen people have come forward saying they were beaten or violated inside the Brave Cave, the video that could possibly support those claims or absolve officers of guilt is being held from the public by BRPD because of ongoing investigations.

Current BRPD Chief Thomas Morse, Jr. did tell the WAFB I-TEAM that there were about nine cameras inside the Brave Cave. He is part of how far back the recordings go, but like with many businesses with surveillance cameras, he says the cameras record for a while and then overwrite for storage purposes.

“There were multiple cameras so there should be multiple pieces of footage. We should have everything that we need in our ask and request for transparency from the city. They should be able to give us all of this footage,” said Thompson.

Thompson also took issue with how long it took officials to collect video from the Brave Cave.

He explained that the mother of one of his clients who was allegedly beaten inside the building filed a complaint within days with Chief Paul and Mayor Broome’s office.

Thompson stopped short of saying that the complaints were held up on purpose to allow time for the footage to disappear, but they did say the delay was concerning.

“That’s called notice and once you give notice to someone there is possible criminal activity, it is supposed to be preserved but what we are seeing here repeatedly from the officers all the way up to the top government is this lack of evidence preserving,” said Thompson.

All of the attorneys present at the Brave Cave Friday agreed that any evidence that may currently exist within the facility could be crucial. However, they’re still requesting to know what the building looked like before it was stripped because it appears that many of the structures inside the building had been torn apart and removed from the building in a hurry.

“It is clear that the Brave Cave was cleaned out and cleared out. It is clear that they did not preserve this crime scene the way they should have. “At the same time, there’s still evidence of the awfulness that took place there,” said Frampton.

“There is still evidence of the awfulness that took place there. On one of the concrete benches, we still saw children’s crayon drawings and children’s stickers that had not been cleaned up,” Frampton added.

A spokesperson for Mayor Broome emailed a statement to the I-Team Friday afternoon reacting to news about the visit to the Brave Cave.

“Today, attorneys were provided access to the former narcotics processing facility as part of ongoing litigation, which continues to advance through the court system. It’s important to reiterate, Mayor Broome took immediate action upon learning of allegations surrounding the facility, including immediately shutting it down. “We encourage anyone with additional information related to this facility to reach out to our office and file a formal complaint with BRPD, or through the independent FBI tip line,” the statement reads.

To report allegations to the FBI New Orleans office related to the Brave Cave, call 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) or file an online complaint at

A spokesperson for the Baton Rouge Police Department said the agency will not issue a statement in response to the attorneys’ statements because the matter is currently in court.

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