Attorney: Fired police chief will appeal termination, invites public to hearing

Dewayne White
Dewayne White
White with Attorney Jill Craft
White with Attorney Jill Craft
Termination letter given to Dewayne White
Termination letter given to Dewayne White

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Baton Rouge's fired police chief said "micro-managing" by the Mayor made it nearly impossible to effectively do his job. Those details came during a news conference called by Dewayne White and his attorney Thursday afternoon.

White was fired Wednesday, after less than two years on the job.

WAFB reached out to Mayor Kip Holden for a response, but his press secretary responded in an email saying "the Mayor has no response."

White's attorney, Jill Craft did the talking at Thursday's news conference. She says the Mayor and Chief had a falling out of sorts last Fall and Mayor Holden told Chief White that he was not allowed to make any major personnel decisions, discipline or transfer any officers without the Mayor's approval.

Craft says from then on, the police department was no longer operating as an independent agency. Instead, it was micro-managed by the Mayor and his office.

Craft says the Mayor told Chief White not to send anything to him in writing because that then turns into public record, meaning the media could get the information.

Wednesday, White was called into the Mayor's office where Craft says he was he was asked to resign and refused. He was then given a termination letter. He plans to fight it.

In the letter, it states he was fired because of a "substantial disagreement with the direction of the Baton Rouge Police Department."

"But sometimes when you set out to do the right thing, you need to stay the course and sometimes that makes people unhappy. And when folks get unhappy, you sometimes end up being the sacrificial lamb," said Craft.

Craft says neither she nor the chief have spoken directly with the Mayor in the past several weeks, and the Mayor had his Chief Administrative Officer handle Wednesday's termination.

Craft says White's only desire is to serve the people of Baton Rouge and would like to continue to be the Police Chief.

Now, White does have a hearing before Mayor Holden on February 18, 2013, which is essentially White's chance to appeal. Craft says she is hoping the hearing will be open to the public and asks the public to join and to ask questions.

Lt. Carl Dabadie, Jr. will serve as the interim police chief until Holden hires a new chief.

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