I-Team: Farrakhan protection cost thousands - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

I-Team: Farrakhan protection cost thousands

Minister Louis Farrakhan Minister Louis Farrakhan

In November, I-Team investigators noticed a discrepancy in an account of events by the Baton Rouge Police Chief.

Minister Louis Farrakhan's visit became a hot topic in the race for mayor, with one candidate calling out another for the police protection used, and the overtime hours associated with the visit.

Farrakhan himself thanked the police chief for his services.
"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," said Farrakhan.

In several letters, Police Chief Dewayne White denied that any overtime hours were used in the protection of Farrakhan.

The chief wrote:

"... Only one Baton Rouge Police officer accompanied State Police."

And sent this email:

"I made the decision, after intelligence information, to send our SRT commander to New Orleans to ensure the fluid movement of the principal to Baton Rouge. That was the only Baton Rouge asset used for this detachment."

He continued:

"There were no overtime dollars associated with this mission and its sole purpose was to ensure the protection of an individual of international prominence while in our fair city."

Our I-Team ran into many obstacles along the way in obtaining a true account of the police personnel used to guard and protect Farrakhan.  Now we have the documents and they paint a very different picture from what we were originally told.

It turns out there was overtime used in the protection of Farrakhan.  $2,456 worth - and not just one officer, but at least 15, not counting the officers flying overhead in the Baton Rouge helicopter, which was also used as part of the protection detail, as well as bomb detection dogs - part of the explosives unit.

Each officer making from just over $30 per hour, up to over $55 an hour.  Each officer on the detail got at least four hours of overtime, some of them six hours.

When we first caught up with the chief outside police headquarters, he had this to say:
"I don't know if there was any overtime. If there was any overtime, it would be minimal. It would be minuscule at best," said Chief White.

"Compared to what you normally do or just compared to your overall?" asked Greg Meriwether. 

"I'll  tell you what, Greg, if there was overtime, it was so minuscule, I'll make this promise. I'll pay it out of my pocket. How about that?," replied White.

The grand total to protect Farrakhan?  58 hours, at a cost of $2456.96.
The I-Team asked Chief White this week for a response.  He said he would prefer to sit down and discus this and other things next week.

Mayor Kip Holden was also contacted for this story.  He declined to comment.

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