BATON ROUGE, LA (FOX44) — The day after Mayor Holden released a five page document containing his grievances with BRPD Chief Dewayne White, a chapter of the Peace Officer’s Association issued a show of support.
“Despite disagreeing with Chief White on some actions he took during his tenure, the Magnolia State Peace Officers Association had a good working relationship with Chief White and has supported him on many of his endeavors,” Myron K. Daniels, Capital Area President of MSPOA, said. “The members of this chapter will continue to serve the community without distraction and trust in those who lead the City of Baton Rouge.”
The Magnolia State Peace Officers Association is a non-profit organization made up of African-American law enforcement officers. It was formed in 1956 and its mission statement is to “improve law enforcement and how justice is administers in the state of Louisiana.”
“Since his appointment, Chief White has made obvious efforts to address the concerns of all citizens, particularly those who live in the areas most plagued by crime,” Daniels continued. “He demanded equal treatment for all of the citizens of Baton Rouge regardless of their economic status. This was evident by his opening statements of ‘I want the people who live in the Gus Young neighborhood treated with the same respect as someone living in Bocage.”
White’s treatment of community members was not, however, among the 14 points listed in Mayor Holden’s reasons for recommending his termination.
“This list, as indicated above, is less than exhaustive, but rather merely examples of irrational and unacceptable behavior,” Holden’s letter concluded. “As these issues have continued to mount and accumulate, I have lost confidence in your ability or capability to continue as the Chief of Police of the City of Baton Rouge.”
The letter also clarified that his first notification to White on Feb. 6 was simply a “recommendation” not a formal letter of termination. He clarified that White is still an active member of the police department.
“Despite the statements made to the press by you and your attorney, you are still an employee of the city of Baton Rouge,” Holden said in his letter to White. “It remains the position of this administration that you are not a classified employee and that I, as the Mayor of the City of Baton Rouge, have the authority to remove you as Police Chief.”
White hired attorney Jill Craft to represent him at a meeting with the Civil Service Board, which is scheduled to occur on Feb. 18. She called Holden’s letter a "knee-jerk reaction" from the Mayor's office after they mishandled the chief's termination.
"I certainly am of the opinion that hopefully we'll be able to put on our evidence and hopefully the mayor's going to be required to put on his, instead of allegations innuendo and falsehoods," Craft said.
Click here to view the full letter issued by Mayor Holden.
Click here to view the unedited interview with attorney Jill Craft.