Baton Rouge Reporter Settles Lawsuit After his Arrest

Back in May of last year, FTVLive told you that WBRZ Reporter Brett Buffington  was arrested after cops say he was  interfering with a law enforcement investigation.

In March of this year, FTVLive told you that Buffington was suing the Baton Rouge Police after he claims he was  strip-searched and forced to watch a prison rape video after his arrest. 

Now, Buffington has settled his federal lawsuit against the Baton Rouge Police Department and the officer who arrested him.

U.S. District Judge James Brady dismissed the lawsuit after both sides filed a joint motion Tuesday stating that "all claims have been compromised and settled" with BRPD and Officer Clifford Crouch.

"This settlement strikes a balance between fairness and accountability of law enforcement, while preserving the Press's ability to report the news," Franz Borghardt, one of Buffington's attorneys, said Friday. He added that Buffington has a great deal of respect for the men and women who work for BRPD and serve the city.

Parish Attorney Lea Anne Batson declined comment on the settlement.

Buffington and a WBRZ producer were driving through the Garden District in May 2015 when they observed a large police presence at the intersection of Oleander and Eugene streets. The area was not barricaded by police or roped off with crime scene tape, his suit said. Buffington claims he and the producer obeyed Crouch's request to move away from the scene after they identified themselves as reporters. After crossing the street, Buffington took a picture of the scene with his iPhone, prompting the officer to handcuff the producer and put him into his police car. Buffington took a second photo to document Crouch's actions, and the officer grabbed the back of Buffington's shirt and pushed him into the police car, the suit alleged. Crouch took Buffington's phone and handcuffed him after the reporter took a third picture of the street sign to record the location, the suit stated. Buffington acknowledged in the suit that he told the officer, "I hope you enjoy the rest of your career."

Buffington was not prosecuted on the misdemeanor and felony counts on which he was booked.

Attorneys for BRPD and Crouch had argued in court documents that the department and officer did not use any unnecessary or excessive force.

The terms of the settlement were not released.

H/T The Advocate