NO Cop Boss Has Multi-Layered Protective Cover
Half Moon’s Boy Pal Still Gets Magic Pension In NO
THIS IS ANOTHER REASON WHY
MANY PEOPLE THINK NEW ORLEANS
IS THE MOST CORRUPT CITY IN AMERICA
“Was there deception? Was something backdated, was there an attempt to defraud? Was there intent to represent something that wasn't true? That's very serious."
At Fox8 Site
Corruption, something white-folks in this city will never admit to!!! Here is a clear example of falsifying public documents. [Everybody] in this story should be INDICTED by the local district attorney, the State Attorney, and the U.S. Attorney $144, 000, and that money could be used to do good in the community, not take care a crook for the rest of his life!!!
TIME FOR AN UPDATE
With Comprehensive Details Of Malfeasance / Cover-Up
Super-Quick Whitewash Of Police Superintendent Serpas’
Conflicts Of Interest Abound
As Political Machine ‘Administers’ The Law
Editor’s Note: The Cool Justice Report has been following the politics of law enforcement in New Orleans with great interest following a public records request and subsequent lawsuit demanding files in the cover-up of the Gabe Caporino missing person / homicide case.
There seems to be an institutionalized protective cover for Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas, a boyhood chum of Mayor ‘Half Moon’ Landrieu. Recently, a criminal complaint against Serpas was summarily dismissed by a state police colonel who served on the selection committee for Serpas. Also of interest – The ostensibly independent U.S. Attorney, Jim Letten, a Republican, can thank Half Moon’s sister, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D), for his reappointment by the Obama Administration.
By some persuasive accounts, Letten tends to supervise and mentor Serpas’s activities as chief. They are reported to enjoy a certain chicken and ribs establishment.
The author of the following two complaints to the Louisiana State Police – Dwayne Scheuermann – retired as a lieutenant after 27 years of service with the New Orleans Police Department. Scheuermann was considered to be a front-line leader by his peers, a relentless worker who would take the same risks as the troops who worked for him. He received many commendations and complaints, though none of the complaints were sustained. Scheuermann now works as a private investigator, acting on behalf of those wrongly accused. He was falsely charged by the FBI in the infamous burning of a local man in a car during Hurricane Katrina. Scheuermann fought the charges, refusing to take a deal or become an informant. He was acquitted on all counts.
Colonel Michael D. Edmonson
7919 Independence Bd.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70806
November 30th, 2011
Re: Superintendent Ronal Serpas
Possible Violations of: RS:14-26, RS:14-123, RS:14-125, RS:14-132, RS:14-133, RS:14-138
By this letter, I am asking that your office open a formal investigation into possible criminal violations by New Orleans Superintendent of Police Ronal Serpas and others as it relates to questions surrounding his pension documentation. As you are aware, Superintendent Serpas has set a precedent in the Marlon DeFillo case by stating that since the accusations involved high level New Orleans Police officials, he was of the belief that the State Police should investigate the complaint. Furthermore, if there is probable cause to believe that any of the aforementioned laws were violated, it may involve two jurisdictions, Orleans Parish and East Baton Rouge Parish.
Recently, Ms. Kim Holden, a news reporter for WVUE Fox 8 in New Orleans, aired a story in which questions were raised concerning a pension form that was reportedly signed by Superintendent Serpas. The forms were dated May 6th, 2010 and then notarized by City Attorney Victor Papai on the same date. Superintendent Serpas confirmed in a recent interview that he was in Nashville on May 6th, 2010 and actually signed the form on May 18th, 2010. The news report questioned whether or not there was possible fraud involved and questioned if the forms were intentionally back dated because the involved parties may have been under the belief that Ronal Serpas had to be active in the Municipal Police Employees Retirement System prior to age fifty. Mr. Serpas 50th birthday was May 9th, 2010.
While many are focused on the question of whether the pension system was defrauded, there are other serious questions as to whether or not Ronal Serpas and others conspired to injure public records (RS:14-132) and whether or not they filed and maintained false public records (RS:14-133). There is also a serious question as to whether there was a conspiracy to falsify a notarized document that was then filed with MPERS and whether or not the actions rise to the level of Perjury (RS:14-123) and/or False Swearing(RS:14-125). Finally, since payroll records show that Ronal Serpas was being paid on May 9th, 2010 and May 10th, 2010 when he was still in Nashville, Tennessee, did he commit payroll fraud as defined as RS:14-138.
Please note that Ms. Kim Holden reportedly possessed NOPD payroll records which may have indicated that Ronal Serpas was carried AWP (Absent With Pay) on May 9th, 2010 and “regular working” on May 10th, 2010. On the same dates Acting-Superintendent Marlon DeFillo was also reported to have been paid superintendent’s salary.
There appears to be little disputing that the Municipal Police Employee’s Retirement System (MPERS) affidavit bears a signature reported to be Ronal Serpas and that it is notarized on May 6th, 2010 by New Orleans City Attorney Victor Papai. There is also no dispute that Mr. Serpas was in Nashville Tennessee on May 6th, 2010. Therefore some of the questions that need to answered are:
Is the signature reported to be Ronal Serpas actually Ronal Serpas’ signature?
I am of the opinion that a court ordered hand writing analysis is needed to answer this basic, but very important question.
If it is his signature, when did he actually sign it? There have been conflicting statements from the administration on this, including from the New Orleans Inspector General.
On November 22nd, 2011, Mr. Serpas said he signed the pension form on May 18th, 2010 and a spokesman for Mayor Landrieu stated that Mr. Serpas inadvertently placed his hire date, May 6th, 2010 as the date of his signature instead of May 18th, 2010. The Inspector General’s report states Serpas signed it on May 6th, 2010.
If it is his signature and if he placed the date of May 6th, 2010, there are additional questions that must be asked and answered:
Are we expected to believe that the Superintendent inadvertently placed the May 6th,2010 date twice and the notary, Mr. Victor Papai made the same mistake?
If in fact Mr. Serpas did sign the pension forms on May 18th, 2010 as he stated publicly, was the notary’s signature already in place? If the notary’s signature and stamp were in place, was Mr. Serpas present when Mr. Papai notarized it and why didn’t either of these two men, or any of the witnesses, realize the date of May 6th,2010 was on the form instead of May 18th, 2010? Are we to believe that all of them inadvertently made this error and did so twelve (12) days after Mr. Serpas claims he was hired?
Other questions that need to be asked are why Mr. Papai was notarizing the pension form and is this standard operating procedure? Has he done so in the past?
How many other New Orleans Police Department employees have their pension forms dated prior to their actual swearing in date and prior to ever being placed in the City of New Orleans payroll system?
If Ronal Serpas’ hire date was actually May 6th, 2010, why didn’t he get paid from that date or why wasn’t he carried “detailed” or “leave without pay” for the days he was still in Nashville. According to the news report, he was carried “AWP” on Sunday May 9th, 2010 and he was paid for Monday May 10th, 2010, despite the fact that then Acting-Superintendent Marlon DeFillo was still receiving Superintendents pay.
Please note that the New Orleans Police Department’s payroll system, known as TRIP, logs the date and time an entry is made, who made the entry and the date and time any changes were made after the initial entry was made. Police Department Rules and Regulations also require the employee to initial a TRIP printout to confirm that they worked the hours listed on the printout. The person who actually entered the payroll for Ronal Serpas may also have answers to some of the questions at hand.
Besides Mr. Serpas, who was present when the form was signed and notarized? We know that there are two witnesses listed on the pension form, but as of this time we do not know exactly what they witnessed or if any of the parties were present when they signed their names.
Please note that Ms. Kathy Bourque of MPERS stated in an interview that the pension form date should be the day the member is employed, hired and starts getting paid. She said it should all be the same date. That date should have been Monday May 10th, 2010.
If the signature reported to be Ronal Serpas’ is not his signature, then it is leads to even more questions.
Whether or not the signature turns out to be Mr. Serpas’, he has claimed ownership of it and if the pension forms were intentionally falsified, even with the mistaken belief that Mr. Serpas had to appear active in the pension system prior to his actual reporting date, there may have been violations of the law since the MPERS pension form clearly states:
I am aware that should I not provide a full and accurate disclosure of all information requested, or should I intentionally make any false statement with respect to my application and enrollment process, I may be guilty of perjury and/or false swearing and subject to prosecution therefore.
Directly below the aforementioned paragraph is the printed name Ronal W. Serpas and below that is a signature reported to be his and it is dated May 6th, 2010. This affidavit is notarized by Victor Papai and dated May 6th, 2010.
There are other potential witnesses that may be critical in the investigation. They include but are not limited to New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) Chief Stephanie Landry, who supervises the NOPD Personnel Division. Her name appears on one of the pension forms. Also, Lydia Smith, who is assigned to the Personnel Division and is subordinate to Chief Stephanie Landry. Ms. Smith is also the NOPD liaison to the MPERS.
In closing, I pray that you immediately open an investigation so that the public can have confidence that when words such as “transparency” are spoken to us, we can believe in them. I also respectfully ask that your investigators work closely with prosecutors in this since many of those involved may invoke their Fifth Amendment privilege and decisions may need to be made concerning possible immunity. If you have any questions relating to this matter, please contact me at your convenience.
Dwayne A. Scheuermann
RESPONSE BY EDMONSON
[click on image]
OF EDMONSON’S RESPONSE
December 15, 2011
Colonel Michael Edmonson
Deputy Secretary, Public Safety Services
Superintendent, Louisiana State Police
Dear Colonel Edmonson,
I have received your correspondence dated January 15th, 2011 which was in response to my December 2011 complaint on potential criminal wrong doing by Superintendent Serpas and other members of New Orleans city government. And while I do appreciate the response, I am left wondering if my letters of complaint were read or if Superintendent Serpas himself prepared your response to me.
You commented, as it relates to my complaint concerning Superintendent Serpas, that the New Orleans Inspector General had reviewed the matter and found no violations of law or policy. The fact of the matter is that a sizeable portion of the citizens of New Orleans have no confidence in the Inspector General and that was the very reason that I asked for an independent investigation by the Louisiana State Police. If I had wanted a rubber stamp of the Inspector General’s report, I would have brought my complaint to Superintendent Serpas for review.
I have read and heard comments from the Inspector General’s Office and they either have no concept of the Louisiana Revised Statues or the definition of criminal intent or they just have not concerned themselves with the law as they go about their duties. My letter, if you have read it, clearly refutes what the Inspector General report stated and points to his lack of knowledge of the law. If you have read my letter and the Inspector General’s letter and you agree with his interpretation, I pray for the Louisiana State Police.
You also addressed my request for an investigation into the “Ruiz” incident. You suggested that there is an appropriate body at the local level who could investigate these allegations. I will address this with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. However, I was of the opinion that the Louisiana State Police was the better agency to investigate it since there may be violations in both Orleans and Jefferson Parishes. As far as investigations being “forestalled” until the civil suit is settled, perhaps you should review the New Orleans Police Department’s administrative investigation into my actions in the “Glover” matter while at the same time I was being sued. To be blunt, there has never been any rule or law, nor is there any rule or law, that postpones an administrative, internal investigation until such time as a lawsuit is settled. To the contrary, if the appointing agency deems an officer to have been in violation of department rules that led to a lawsuit, it is grounds for the authority to refuse to represent them in the suit.
Finally, you responded that the investigation into Chief Defillo’s actions was at the request of Mayor Landrieu and Superintendent Serpas and those requests are quite rare. No doubt they are, but rarity of action is not an excuse for failure of action when it is clearly warranted. Hurricane Katrina was a rarity, but the men and women I worked with never failed to act and neither should you. The fact that a request by a mayor and police chief to investigate an administrative violation is somehow acceptable but a request by a citizen to investigate possible criminal wrongdoing by law enforcement is not, is something that I will never understand or accept.
If you have any questions of me concerning this matter, please contact me at your convenience.
Lieutenant Dwayne A. Scheuermann (retired)
Colonel Michael D. Edmonson
7919 Independence Bd.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70806
November 30th, 2011
Re: Criminal Complaint
By this letter, I am requesting that a formal investigation be initiated by the Louisiana State Police into possible criminal violation by New Orleans Police Lieutenant Michael Harrison and other members of the Public Integrity Bureau and command staff of the New Orleans Police Department.
The below listed summary is made as a result of viewing a video, recorded by members of the New Orleans Police Department’s Public Integrity Bureau, concerning the investigation of former Sergeant Ronald Ruiz. The video was aired in a news report on WVUE (Fox 8) in New Orleans.
After the “Henry Glover” trial had concluded, members of the Public Integrity Bureau initiated an investigation into former Sergeant Ronald Ruiz for possibly falsifying an injury report. During the course of the investigation, members of the Public Integrity Bureau videotaped their own actions as they followed Mr. Ruiz and his family into Jefferson Parish. While in Jefferson Parish, it appears that Lieutenant Harrison and other members of the Public Integrity Bureau forced Mr. Ruiz to stop in such a manner that it was obvious that he was not free to leave. More specifically, they restricted his movement and the freedom of his family. All of this was done by members of the New Orleans Police Department who were acting “Under the Color of Law”. By restricting his movement they had arrested the Ruiz family and they did so without probable cause or reasonable suspicion and they did so in a jurisdiction that they had no legal authority to stop citizens.
During the course of the stop, the Public Integrity Bureau videotaped Lieutenant Harrison telling Mr. Ruiz that they had video evidence that he was engaging in activity not authorized by his doctor and that he faced criminal action if he did not resign. Lt. Harrison presented Mr. Ruiz with a letter of resignation and stated that Superintendent Serpas was waiting for the signed letter. Mr. Ruiz, under duress, signed the resignation letter, however, reports indicate that the forced resignation was later voided by the Civil Service Commission.
Superintendent Ronal Serpas
Assistant Superintendent Kirk Bouyelas
Assistant Superintendent Arlinda Westbrook
Commander James Treadway
Commander John Thomas
Commander Michael Harrison
Other unknown subordinates of the aforementioned
On numerous occasions Superintendent Serpas has disciplined his subordinates for their failure to take proper action and for misconduct which has brought discredit to the New Orleans Police Department. He has also pledged to be “transparent” in his supervision of the police department, however, as of yet, I cannot find anything indicating that members of the Public Integrity Bureau were investigated for this incident. If Superintendent Serpas was aware of this violation, and I believe he was, then he is also in violation of the law, New Orleans Police Department policy and Civil Service Rule IX.
To date, it does not appear that any member of the New Orleans Police Department contacted Mr. Ronald Ruiz or his attorney, Mr. Raymond Burkhart III, to determine if he would cooperate in an investigation into the actions of the Public Integrity Bureau and it members. If they failed to contact him, they did so after receiving a copy of his lawsuit against the City of New Orleans alleging misconduct by the Public Integrity Bureau.
It is important to note that even if Superintendent Serpas and members of the Public Integrity Bureau state that they did not receive a formal complaint or that Mr. Ruiz did not wish to make a formal complaint, New Orleans Police Department rules and the law mandate that if an officer or supervisor knows of a potential violation of the law or of the New Orleans Police Department Rules and Regulations, they must take the appropriate action by reporting the violation regardless of whether the victim wants to pursue it or not. With violations this serious, there is no reason why a DI-1 was not initiated immediately. To make matters worse, the Public Integrity Bureau videotaped their own violations and it is apparent that the New Orleans Police Department is comfortable with their actions even though there is compelling evidence that a criminal investigation is warranted.
Additionally, at the time of the airing of the “Ruiz” incident, it is believed that Assistant Superintendent Kirk Bouyelas, Commander of the Detective Bureau, supervised Commander Harrison and as such, had a responsibility by his oath, to initiate a criminal investigation and disciplinary action if he was aware of the incident. He was also obligated to report any failures on the part of Superintendent Serpas and Assistant Superintendent Arlinda Westbrook to investigate the incident once he had knowledge of it.
Additionally, Commander James Treadway is on the staff of Superintendent Serpas. In that position, it is likely that he knew that a violation of this nature required immediate attention in the form of a criminal investigation. The failure of these ranking officers to initiate an investigation is at best a serious administrative violations and at worse, may be part of a larger conspiracy to cover up the illegal actions of the very people tasked with ensuring the public that officers operate within the confines of the law and departmental policy.
When a complaint was filed against former Assistant Superintendent Marlon DeFillo, Superintendent Serpas stated that because former Chief Marlon DeFillo was a high ranking officer and the subject of a complaint, he thought that the Louisiana State Police should handle the investigation.
I couldn’t have agreed more and because this is a formal complaint involving high ranking officers in the police department, including Superintendent Serpas and Assistant Superintendent Arlinda Westbrook, it should also be investigated by the Louisiana State Police. I am also of the opinion that the Louisiana State Police should initiate a criminal investigation since the State Police has jurisdiction in Jefferson Parish where the incident occurred. After that criminal investigation is complete, I would ask that they also conduct an administrative investigation, as they did in the Marlon DeFillo case, to determine what NOPD rules may have been violated.
I am also requesting that if the Louisiana State Police initiate an investigation and come to a conclusion, the New Orleans Police Department should not be able to review and alter that investigation as they did in the Marlon DeFillo case. Not only did they remove a violation sustained by the State Police, but they also failed to include violations such as Rule IX and Professionalism as they did in other recent cases involving federal investigations. Such actions undermine an independent investigation and the confidence of our citizens and police officers.
In an effort to assist, I have included the State Laws and Administrative Rules thought to have been violated. I remain available if your office has any questions or is in need of any further information.
Dwayne A. Scheuermann
cc: Mr. Paul Connick
Based on the videotaped actions of the Public Integrity Bureau in this matter, it is possible that they committed the following criminal and/or administrative violations:
(venue is Jefferson Parish)
(NOPD Administrative Violation: Adherence to Law)
False imprisonment is the intentional confinement or detention of another, without his consent and without proper legal authority.
Even though this possible criminal violation took place in Jefferson Parish, the accused would also be in violation of the New Orleans Police Department administrative rule Adherence to Law which has traditionally been used against officers who commit criminal violations in other jurisdictions.
It is possible that members of the Public Integrity Bureau violated this law/rule when they forcibly stopped Mr. Ruiz in a jurisdiction in which they had no legal authority. Furthermore, despite the fact that Mr. Ruiz was still a New Orleans Police Department employee, he could have been ordered to meet with Public Integrity at any time that the Public Integrity Bureau deemed appropriate. There was no need to stop Mr. Ruiz in such a manner and outside of the jurisdiction other than to use the stop as an intimidation factor.
(venue is Jefferson Parish)
(NOPD Administrative Violation: Adherence to Law)
Extortion is the communication of threats to another with the intention thereby to obtain anything of value or any acquittance, advantage, or immunity of any description. The following kinds of threats shall be sufficient to constitute extortion:
(2) A threat to accuse the individual threatened or any member of his family or any other person held dear to him of any crime;
The Public Integrity Bureau video shows that Mr. Ruiz was threatened with possible criminal action if he did not resign from the New Orleans Police Department. The Public Integrity Bureau was hoping to gain an advantage by getting Mr. Ruiz to resign, thus preventing them from having to complete an administrative procedure and thus shortening their investigation while still obtaining their goal of removing Mr. Ruiz from the police department. They achieved this advantage by threatening Mr. Ruiz with a crime, a possible violation of RS:14-66.
Malfeasance In Office
venue in Jefferson Parish and Orleans Parish)
(NOPD Administrative Violation: Adherence to Law)
Malfeasance in office is committed when any public officer or public employee shall:
(1) Intentionally refuse or fail to perform any duty lawfully required of him, as such officer or employee; or
(2) Intentionally perform any such duty in an unlawful manner; or
(3) Knowingly permit any other public officer or public employee, under his authority, to intentionally refuse or fail to perform any duty lawfully required of him, or to perform any such duty in an unlawful manner.
Any duty lawfully required of a public officer or public employee when delegated by him to a public officer or public employee shall be deemed to be a lawful duty of such public officer or employee. The delegation of such lawful duty shall not relieve the public officer or employee of his lawful duty.
It is believed that Lt. Harrison violated this law when he intentionally performed his duty in an unlawful manner (paragraph 2). Furthermore, it is possible that ranking officers above Lt. Harrison violated paragraph 3 of this law by knowingly permitting Lt. Harrison, who was under their authority, to commit the crimes of False Imprisonment and Extortion. Furthermore, Lt. Harrison’s supervisors may have also violated sub-paragraph 2 when they intentionally failed to intervene in the incident and then apparently failed to take any action against known violations of the law and therefore performed their duties in an unlawful manner.
Other Administrative Violations:
Rule 2 Moral Conduct
Adherence to Law
Employees shall act in accordance with the constitutions, statues, ordinances, administrative regulations, and official interpretations thereof, of the United States, the State of Louisiana, and the City of New Orleans, but when in another jurisdiction, shall obey all applicable laws. Neither ignorance of the law, it’s interpretations, nor failure to be physically arrested and charged, shall be regarded as a valid defense against the requirements of this rule.
Based on the video alone it appears that Lieutenant Harrison may have violated this administrative rule several times by his actions in Jefferson Parish. Likewise, other members of the Public Integrity Bureau may also be in violation of this rule by participating in the illegal activity and/or by their failure to take the appropriate action when the violation occurred.
Rule 2, Moral Conduct
An employee shall not use or direct unjustifiable verbal abuse, threats or intimidation against any person.
Based on the video, Lt. Harrison may have violated this rule by threatening and intimidating another employee, Mr. Ruiz, into resigning from the police department. This was obviously the goal of Lt. Harrison as PIB had the authority to call Sergeant Ruiz to the office as part of a formal internal investigation and instead intimidated him into resigning.
Rule 2, Moral Conduct
Failure to Report Misconduct
Any department employee who observes or becomes aware of any act of misconduct by another employee of the government shall immediately report the incident to their immediate supervisor or the most appropriate New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) supervisor (Violations of this provision may be charged up to and including the category of the underlying offense not reported).
The actions of Lt. Harrison and other members of the Public Integrity Bureau speak for themselves and clearly rise to the level of criminal violations. Since no action was taken to investigate this possible criminal violations, every departmental personnel who took place in or had knowledge of the incident at any time after the incident, would certainly be in violation of this rule. Additionally, because the rule states “Violations of this provision may be charged up to and including the category of the underlying offense not reported”, it is clear that the New Orleans Police Department takes a harsh view on those failing to report violations of the law and rules. To date, there does not appear to be any investigation conducted on this matter and therefore, all of those having knowledge of the “Ruiz” incident and who failed to take the appropriate action as defined in this rule, should also be charged with Lt. Harrison.
Rule 3, Professional Conduct Definition
Professionalism is both an individual characteristic and an ideological position. The primary definition is that of individual professionalism: The idea that membership of a profession carries with it a set of internalized values that will be reflected in the way in which work is carried out and the ethical standards that are adhered to.
Rule 3, Professional Conduct
Paragraph 1, Professionalism
Employees shall conduct themselves in a professional manner with the utmost concern for the dignity of the individual with whom they are interacting. Employees shall not unnecessarily inconvenience or demean any individual or otherwise act in a manner which brings discredit to the employee or the New Orleans Police Department.
It is clear in the video that none of the officers who participated in the stop conducted themselves in a professional manner and none of them appeared to be concerned with the dignity of Mr. Ruiz before, during or after the stop. If they were concerned, this action would have never been planned, Mr. Ruiz would have never been stopped in Jefferson Parish and subsequently intimidated into resigning.
Furthermore, Mr. Ruiz was inconvenienced due to the fact that he was stopped against his will and he was demeaned when Lt. Harrison, who was a superior officer to Ruiz, threatened him with arrest if he did not sign the resignation letter. All of these actions brought discredit to the New Orleans Police Department and any employee of the Police Department appointed or not, are in violation of this rule if they were aware of the incident and took no action to investigate it.
As a result of these unprofessional acts by N.O.P.D. personnel, a lawsuit was filed against the N.O.P.D. and a story was aired in the media in which the illegal actions were broadcast.
Rule 3, Professional Conduct
Paragraph 2, Abuse of Position
Employees shall not use their position, official identification cards or badges for personal or financial gain, obtaining privileges, or for avoiding consequences of illegal acts. Employees shall not lend to another person their identification cards, badges, or uniform parts identifying the wearer as a police officer, or permit them to be photographed or reproduced without the approval of the Superintendent of Police.
All of the accused may be in violation of this rule due to the fact that because of their positions within the police department they failed to take all of the necessary action in the Ruiz matter because they knew that the rules prohibited anyone other than themselves from taking criminal action. Therefore, they may have used their position to protect themselves from a criminal investigation which may have led to criminal charges and dismissal had an investigation been initiated.
Rule 4, Performance of Duty
Instructions from an Authoritative Source
To Wit: Chapter 52.1 paragraph 10
An employee shall professionally, promptly and fully abide by or execute instructions issued from any authoritative source, including any order relayed from a superior by an employee of the same or lesser rank. If the instructions are reasonably believed to be in conflict with the rules and procedures of the department or other issued instructions, this fact shall respectfully be made known to the issuing authority. If the issuing authority elects to insist upon execution of the instructions which are reasonably believed to be in conflict with department rules and procedures, the employee receiving the instructions shall have the right to request and is entitled to, determined by the supervisor. The issuing authority shall be held responsible should any conflict materialize; however, no instruction shall be issued or executed which are in violation of the law.
Chapter 52.1 paragraph 10:
When an employee receives information regarding a violation of criminal law allegedly committed by any commissioned or civilian New Orleans Police Department employee, the employee receiving the information shall notify PIB immediately. If the violation of law requires immediate police intervention, the employee receiving the information shall immediately notify an on-duty district supervisor, who shall promptly direct the on-duty police response. The supervisor shall respond to the scene and shall be responsible for making immediate notification to P.I.B. once it is confirmed an employee may be involved in criminal misconduct.
While it is clear that this rule was written and approved, no one took into consideration that the New Orleans Police Department’s Public Integrity Bureau may be the employee(s) violating the law. While it may be argued that P.I.B. was immediately notified of the possible violation, because they may have committed it, the spirit of the rule should apply and that is to bring in a supervisor to properly investigate the alleged misconduct. Apparently, that did not occur in this case and therefore some or all of the aforementioned personnel may be in violation.
When reviewing this rule, the accused employees may have also failed to call for an on-duty district supervisor. Even though the incident occurred in Jefferson Parish, like other incidents in the past, a supervisor from the nearest district should have been called to the scene. Had this been done, the incident should have been documented and a formal investigation would have been initiated into the actions of the accused members.
Chapter 52.1 paragraph 13:
When a supervisor receives a citizen’s complaint, or observes or is cognizant of misconduct by an employee, the supervisor shall:
a. Immediately confirm the accused employee’s involvement in the alleged misconduct.
b. Notify P.I.B. immediately, before taking any other action, if the nature of the misconduct involves ongoing criminal activity. This does not preclude the supervisor’s responsibility to address any emergency situation per department procedure, including the taking of appropriate law enforcement action.
c. Notify P.I.B. immediately if the nature of the conduct involves:
i. A violation of criminal law
d. Address the situation and behavior complained of, taking immediate corrective action.
f. Classify and document the supervisory action in a DI-1, DI-2, DI-3, or INFO
g. Submit the documentation in a timely manner according to the guideline of the corresponding departmental regulations.
i. Chapter 52.2 – DI-1 (three (3) calendar days of the date the supervisor originally received, observed, or became cognizant of the complaint)
ii. Chapter 52.3 – DI-2 (four (4) calendar days of the date the supervisor originally received, observed or became cognizant of the complaint)
iii. Chapter 52.4 – DI-3 (fourteen (14) calendar days of the date the supervisor originally received, observed or became cognizant of the complaint)
A disciplinary investigation shall be initiated against the initiating supervisor for any documentation form not received in the P.I.B office within the mandated time period.
This paragraph of the Chapter makes it clear that when illegal actions are observed, whether they are criminal or administrative in nature, a supervisor must act and initiate an investigation into the conduct. If all of the aforementioned accused personnel were aware of this incident, all of them would be in violation of the rule and chapter.
An investigation needs to determine if any of the illegal actions were documented within the prescribed time. If they were, it needs to be determined why this action did not lead to a full, open and transparent disclosure to the citizens of New Orleans and why those who committed the violations were never arrested, reassigned and decommissioned during the investigation.
If no action was taken regarding this matter, it may confirm that a conspiracy was in place to protect those within P.I.B. who committed violations or that certain members of the New Orleans Police Department believes that the laws and rules do not apply to them.
Chapter 52.1 paragraph 14
If the violation involves actions or conditions which question the accused employee’s continued ability to perform his/her duty, the supervisor shall take the necessary steps to obtain the proper authorization to have the employee placed on emergency suspension or administrative reassignment (Chapter 52.8).
This is yet another paragraph that cries out for answers. Since Superintendent Serpas took office, he has regularly reassigned accused officers on criminal and administrative violations. Not only was that not the case in the “Ruiz” matter, Lieutenant Harrison was rewarded with a promotion to Commander. I am of the opinion that the accused members were giving preferential treatment because of their position within the department and because of their loyalty to the Superintendent of Police. If this is true, it is possibly criminal in nature and on an administrative level, in keeping with the Superintendent’s history, would cause all of the accused officers to be terminated if they are found in violation.
Chapter 52.1 paragraph 21
P.I.B shall assume primary investigative responsibility for any complaint of criminal activity against a commissioned employee, and shall coordinate such investigation with all necessary specialized or support units.
Chief Arlinda Westbrook and all of her subordinates involved on the “Ruiz” matter, are aware of this entire Chapter since all of them have been in P.I.B. for a long period of time and this is at the heart of what they do on a daily bases. Their failure to initiate a criminal investigation into their own actions in this matter puts them in violation of this rule.
Members of P.I.B. can’t hide behind the Fifth Amendment as it concerns self-incrimination since Chief Westbrook and the N.O.P.D. held in the Jeffrey Winn Civil Service Hearing that even when under criminal investigation, Department members are required to report possible violations of the law, even if they may be involved.
Chapter 52.1 paragraph 23
The Public Integrity Bureau Chief is responsible for the coordination of every investigation of a criminal nature.
If Chief Westbrook was aware of her subordinates actions in the “Ruiz”, and no doubt she was since it was recorded by her own personnel, aired on the news and led to the New Orleans Police Department being the defendant in a civil action, she is clearly in violation of this Chapter as it mandates that she coordinate all investigations of a criminal nature.
Chapter 52.1 paragraph 28
P.I.B. shall act as the departmental liaison with other law enforcement agencies on disciplinary complaints and investigations.
Chief Westbrook, along with other ranking members of P.I.B. were aware that possible criminal violations occurred in Jefferson Parish in the “Ruiz” matter and as such, they were obligated by Departmental Rules to initiate an investigation and liaison with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office or the Louisiana State Police to initiate and assist in a criminal investigation into the actions of Lieutenant Michael Harrison. Their failure to do so puts them in violation of this Chapter.
Rule 4 Performance of Duty
Paragraph 4 Neglect of Duty
a. Each employee, because of his grade and assignment, is required to perform certain duties and assume certain responsibilities. An employee’s failure to properly function in either or both of these areas constitutes a Neglect of Duty.
The accused members may have violated this Rule by failing to initiate an investigation as it concerns the Ruiz incident.
b. An employee with supervisory responsibility shall be in Neglect of Duty whenever he fails to properly supervise subordinates, or when his actions in matters relating to discipline fail to conform with the dictates of Departmental Rules and Procedures.
c. The following acts or omissions to act, although not exhaustive, are considered neglect of duty:
1. Failure to take appropriate and necessary police action
4. Failure to make a written report when such is indicated.
6. Failure to comply with instructions, oral or written, from any authoritative source.
11. Failure to take appropriate action as to illegal activity, including vice and gambling violations, and/or to make a written report of same to his/her commanding officer.
The accused members may be in violation of this Rule if they failed to prevent, intervene and subsequently investigate the illegal stop of Mr. Ruiz and his family. They may also be in violation by failing to initiate reports, an incident report and an administrative report (DI-1) and by failing to comply with Instructions From An Authoritative Source as it relates to a department members obligations when they are aware of misconduct.
Rule 4 Performance of Duty
Paragraph 7 Leaving City On-Duty
Employees shall not go beyond the city limits while on duty unless directed by their supervisor, radio dispatcher, or in hot pursuit.
Unless they were directed by a superior officer, Lt. Harrison and any other P.I.B. members are in violation of this rule as they entered Jefferson Parish and were not considered in “hot pursuit” since former Sergeant Ruiz was never arrested or cited for a criminal violation, therefore any hot pursuit claim is moot.
Civil Service Rule IX:
Standards of Service
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Andy Thibault is the author of Law and Justice In Everyday Life and, with forensic computer expert Bill Murray, writes a weekly column on electronic evidence called eTips and Traps which is published in a variety of newspapers around the country.