Remember the case recently where Baton Rouge Police Chief Jeff LeDuff fired one of his officers, Officer Tamaini Rucker, for breaking a citizen’s jaw without provocation? Do you also remember that two board members believe the chief was wrong, that the police attorney was wrong, as well as the internal affairs division? Well I decided to do a little research about this city’s police force, as well as the city’s fire and police civil service board. I’ve learned that Chief Leduff and the police attorney are really serious about police crimes, but it seems as if a few board members are in essence please to just slap many bad cops on the wrist.
Case in point, I’ve learned that on May 30, 2008, the chief fired a cop by the name of Reynaldo Sierra, over a missing woman’s wallet, containing cash! (Advocate news story by Kimberly Vetter, Dec.19, 2008). Apparently officer Sierra and another officer by the name of Jerry Lofton answered a disturbance call at the Days Inn Hotel, located at 9919 Gwendale Avenue, in Baton Rouge on Feb. 26, 2008. Apparently the officers placed two females into custody after finding marijuana and a wallet containing cash in the room. Officer Sierra, according to an internal affairs investigation was the only one to handle the wallet.
As the two women was escorted to the police cruiser, one of the women asked for her wallet. But all of a sudden, the wallet couldn’t be found! Officer Lofton immediately called his supervisor to the scene (wise move on his part, probably sense what was happening and wanted no part of it). Thus an investigation ensued and the chief fired officer Sierra, supported again by the police attorney! (there was no question that the other officer wasn’t involved).
Fast forward to the hearing of officer Sierra before the police civil service board. Of course his defense was that the last time he saw the wallet it was on the bed. Fast forward again to the five member board and it’s decision. Reinstatement of officer Sierra…he’s back on the streets!
Board member Brian Taylor stated, “officer Sierra could have handled the investigation better” (What!). Board member Victor Bussie stated, “this was the first time he was disciplined” (what that’s got to do with the missing wallet?) Board member Daryl Edgens stated, “If officer Sierra would have done what he was supposed to do this never would have happened” (I certainly agree with that, but where is the wallet?) Board member Julie Cherry and Larry McGhee voted for a suspension (okay, suspend him, place him back on the street, but where’s….?) Chief LeDuff statement was, “We live and die by one thing in this department and that’s our professional standards”. He continued,” we leave ourselves open to allegations and situations like this”!
I actually met this chief at a few functions some time ago, and even met him in his office where he received a copy of my book, COP OUT. This chief and the police attorney are a rarity! I’m telling you, this just doesn’t happen in many police departments. Most chiefs and supervisors will actually fight “for” a bad cop to be reinstated. This chief has truly dedicated himself to eradicating bad cops, and I’m sure he’s not well like by some bad cops. Apparently some officers in the Baton Rouge Police Department are rogue. This board is binding the hands of police administrators and attorneys. And God forbid, let one of those cops who are placed back on the streets rape, rob, or kill someone. Then the city, because of the board’s decisions, will be looking at a huge civil suit!
February 2007, Baton Rouge Police Officer Jim T. Rogers was arrested for raping two females! Then around March of 2008, in the same city, Lt. Paul Ruiz was arrested for distributing child porn, then just the other day, officer Tamaini Rucker broke a citizen’s jaw, and now this, with many other arrests in between! Residents in Baton Rouge, be careful! I just have one other thing to say, where’s that lady’s ..... ?