Baton Rouge, LA – Baton Rouge Police fatally shot a 24-year-old parolee Monday night after an altercation at his apartment involving a child-abuse investigation.
Police said that a caseworker from the Department of Child and Family Services requested a police escort to visit Calvin Toney on Monday night, because of the “nature of the allegations” and Toney’s previous history, said Louisiana State Police Senior Trooper Bryan Lee.
The caseworker was following up on an incident from the previous weekend, when a young child was removed from the home with burns and fractures alleged to have been caused by Toney, WAFB reported.
Almost immediately after the caseworker and Baton Rouge Police Officer Darrell Carter arrived at the apartment where he lived with his girlfriend and her children, Toney tried to flee on foot, Trooper Lee said, according to The Advocate.
Police said there was a “lengthy struggle,” and Officer Carter used his Taser on Toney multiple times, but was unable to subdue him. Then Officer Carter fired one shot from his gun, striking Toney in the chest.
After being shot, Toney tried to run away again, so the officer handcuffed him “for safety reasons,” Trooper Lee said. The suspect’s handcuffs were removed so he could receive treatment once medics arrived.
Toney was pronounced dead on the scene.
Almost immediately after the officer-involved shooting, a crowd began to gather. Tensions ran high, with people yelling at police officers, and chanting, “No justice, no peace!”
Although he’d had problems with the law in the past, Toney’s family insisted he was a good man who had turned his life around.
“He had issues with law enforcement before but he changed. He changed for the better," his father Calvin Coleman told The Advocate. "By him changing, it meant a lot to us."
Court records show that Toney’s prior criminal history involved child abuse, with eerily similar allegations to those the caseworker was investigating Monday night.
Toney was arrested in 2012 for second degree cruelty to a juvenile, when his 19-month-old daughter was burned after he set her down next to a hot stove. Doctors later told police that the toddler also had multiple fractures at varying stages of healing, which a police affidavit said were "consistent with abuse," according to 19th Judicial District Court records.
Toney pleaded guilty in 2014 to a reduced charge of cruelty to a juvenile, and received a suspended sentence and probation. But he was arrested again three months later.
That time, police arrested Toney for a home invasion that they described as an attack on his ex-girlfriend. The attack violated his probation, and as a result, his earlier seven-year prison sentence was reinstated, according to court records.
Toney pleaded the home invasion case down to a misdemeanor criminal trespassing charge in December of 2015, and was sentenced to six months in Parish Prison, said Ken Pastorick, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety and Corrections.
He never posted bail, and remained incarcerated from his Sept. 7, 2014 arrest until his early release on good time parole on Oct. 12, 2016, Pastorick told The Advocate.
Toney was under medium supervision with the East Baton Rouge Probation and Parole office at the time of the shooting, meeting every three months with his parole officer, Pastorick said.
The police officer who shot Toney was wearing a body-cam, and Baton Rouge Police Department officials were reviewing it as part of the investigation. The body-cam footage has not yet been released to the public.
The head of the Louisiana State Police defended the police officer’s actions in a press availability Tuesday afternoon.
“Almost immediately, a scuffle took place between that person and the Baton Rouge police officer, and it quickly escalated into a lethal force situation,” Louisiana State Police Colonel Kevin Reeves said.
“There’s a rumor out there that he was handcuffed when he was shot. That is not true at all,” Col. Reeves said.
That rumor caused some hysteria on social media, fanning the flames of an already volatile situation brewing in Baton Rouge.
Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Broome said Tuesday that she’d seen the footage and that it was consistent with the accounts of the shooting that have been released by the state police.
"I learned later there had been this rumor the young man had been handcuffed and shot," Broome recalled Tuesday. "That's what the crowd told me, but when I spoke to law enforcement, they assured me that's not what transpired."
Broome spoke of the danger of misinformation, saying it can catalyze people "to a negative space," The Advocate reported. The mayor also warned that the community should not rush to judgment about the shooting of Toney until more facts become public, and said she will be pushing for the investigation to be expedited.
Toney's baby photos have not been released yet.