BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - After a relatively quiet campaign, the gloves have come off in the race for Baton Rouge Mayor. The turning point was a new TV ad that hit the airwaves Tuesday, featuring Minister Louis Farrakhan.
Minister Louis Farrakhan is the charismatic and controversial leader of the Nation of Islam and a self professed black separatist.
The minister recently was a guest speaker at Southern University in Baton Rouge.
Exactly how Louis Farrakhan got to Southern University for this visit is being called into question and has led to this political ad from the Mike Walker campaign for Mayor of East Baton Rouge Parish. The political commercial uses excerpts from Farrakhan's speech in which he mentions current Mayor-President Kip Holden by name:
"Our police and taxes shockingly used to transport Nation of Islam minister to our city." Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, Nation of Islam, says in the ad "I want to thank the Mayor (Kip Holden) of the City of Baton Rouge, the Police Chief and the police personnel, that met my flight in New Orleans and shepherded me here to Baton Rouge." Then the ad announcer says "Mayor: our police and taxes are for fighting crime, not for limoing Louie."
Neither Kip Holden nor the Baton Rouge Police Chief Dewayne White were in attendance for Farrakhan's speech.
However, the police chief has confirmed he did indeed arrange for his officer to provide special protection for Farrakhan while in Baton Rouge and beyond.
The Baton Rouge police Special Response Team commander, working with state police, met Farrakhan at the New Orleans airport and provided a police escort to Southern University for his speech. The officers provided security during the speech and then escorted Farrakhan back to back to New Orleans.
The state police personnel and the Baton Rouge police officer were all paid for using tax payer monies.
According to Baton Rouge police, this is a common and subjective practice for high profile visitors.
The video footage of the motorcade in the political ad is footage of a different police escort and the limousine in the ad is a recreation.
Kip Holden called this a race baiting, cheap tactic.
"When Louis Farrakhan came to Louisiana recently for a guest appearance, I was never in his presence," Holden said. "In fact, I never saw or spoke to him before his visit or at any time during or even after his visit to Louisiana."
Mike Walker says the citizens of East Baton Rouge would like to see their tax dollars spent more wisely.
"I think if Kip has a problem with the ad then really he needs to talk Mr. Farrakhan," Walker said. "And obviously, Kip's got his number."
Both Holden's campaign and Walker's political campaigns purchased advertising time from WAFB-TV, which is routine during political campaigns.
Late Tuesday, Mayor Kip Holden and campaign officials sent WAFB-TV a letter requesting the station pull the campaign advertisement.
"Late today, the Holden Campaign sent letters to all local television stations asking them to stop airing the paid political spot. WAFB's legal department is reviewing the request," said Robb Hays, WAFB News Director.
Accompanying the letter to WAFB is a statement from Police Chief Dewayne White.