East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Kip Holden unleashed a series of serious accusations against the city's police chief Wednesday night.
In a written statement, Holden outlined several reasons why he is considering terminating Chief Dewayne White's employment including allegations that White hired his wife's godson as a police officer without putting him through usual hiring procedures, that White was untruthful about how many officers were assigned to protect Minister Louis Farrakhan, that White ordered the removal of crime cameras from high-crime areas of the city, and other serious allegations.
White announced last week that he'd been fired. However, Holden said that is not accurate. Holden says that Chief Administrative Officer William Daniel has recommended that White be terminated. Holden says, as Mayor, he has the right to fire the chief. However, he says White will have a chance to state his case at a public hearing on February 18th before Holden makes a final decision.
Here is the letter released to the media by Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden:
February 13, 2013
Mr. Donald Dewayne White
Chief of Police
Re: Chief of Police
Dear Chief White:
The purpose of this letter is two-fold. One, it is to clarify any misunderstanding you may have regarding your status as an employee of the City of Baton Rouge. Second, it is to address the specific reasons why your termination has been recommended by Chief Administrative Officer, William Daniel. Despite the statement made to the press by you and your attorney, you are still an employee of the City of Baton Rouge. Your termination has been recommended by Mr. Daniel, and you are presently on paid administrative leave of absence through Monday, February 18, 2013.
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. We believe this stance to be consistent with the 4.03 and 9.14 of the Plan of Government. Pursuant also to the Plan of Government, I will convene a hearing on February 18th to provide you the opportunity to respond to the specification of issues set forth below and to explain to me why it is that you believe that you should be retained as Police Chief. While the Plan of Government allows for the hearing to be public or private, you have indicated through your attorney, that you wish this hearing to be made public. Accordingly, it will be open to the public and held at 9 a.m. Monday morning in the Metropolitan Council Chambers located on the 3rd floor of City Hall. At that time, you will be allowed to present your response to the allegations set forth in this letter and are permitted to have council present. The hearing will conclude no later than 10:30 a.m. on the 18th.
At this time it would appear that your deliberate acts and omissions have caused prejudice to the department and have been contrary to the public interest and policy. Moreover, in several cases your statements to me have been less than forthcoming and in some instances, outright misstatements of the truth. Certain of your actions constitute direct violations of certain statutory law, public and departmental policy not to mention specific directives of this office. Several of these actions could be characterized as nothing short of insubordination.
The following non-exclusive specifications of issues have caused me to seriously consider accepting the recommendation of our Chief Administrative Office, William Daniel, that your employment be terminated:
1. You have refused to follow departmental policy regarding the employment of certain officers. This includes, but is not limited to, your hiring of your wife's godson without requiring him to participate in the standard psychological evaluation or to go before the oral interview board, as had been required of all potential new hires before him. In the past thirty years, there is no evidence of these procedures ever being waived, other than for your wife's godson. When questioned about this decision, you first denied that you knew the officer and denied any familial relationship. You then said that this was a common practice, and you attempted to mislead my administration by providing the names of others officers hired who you said were not required to go through the typical hiring process. Significantly, all of those officers were hired by you.
2. In addition, you started your wife's godson at pay step 10, which is equivalent to the pay for an officer with ten years of experience. You also allowed him to work overtime and extra duty assignments immediately rather than requiring him to adhere to the traditional waiting period, which was previously required by departmental policy. You effectuated this change regarding the Wait period by memorandum only and not by a policy change, which is needed to continue in good standing with national accreditation. This type of favoritism is damaging to morale and violative of established departmental policy
3. You gave your wife's godson a dual purpose canine for his new assignment in a specialized division. Pursuant to departmental policy and Canine S.O.P, this responsibility is typically reserved for those who have proven themselves for a period of no less than three years within the BRPD. When your Wife's godson did not receive a favorable response from supervisors in the Canine Division, you attempted to place another supervisor over the Division under the false pretense of racial problems within the Division.
4. With respect to transfers and promotions, you also abused your discretion by inappropriately transferring persons from sensitive positions in a manner that violated established departmental policy and procedure, not to mention the collective bargaining agreement between the City and the Police union.
5. When questioned about Louis Farrakhan's visit to Baton Rouge, you were neither forthcoming nor truthful. Ultimately, your statements regarding the lack of overtime required for the detail were proved false and intentional misrepresentations of the truth. Due to this, you were asked not to make any further statements to the press. Instead, you disregarded those instructions and did so anyway.
6. You have, on more than one occasion, leaked confidential information regarding matters of a sensitive nature to the department and this office. An example of this was your premature statement regarding the potential acquisition of the former Woman's Hospital campus for local law enforcement agencies. This information was extremely confidential as negotiations for the acquisition were ongoing. Your intentional "Ieak" of this information to the press jeopardized the negotiations to the prejudice of the City-Parish.
7. Following a civil service hearing held involving a BRPD officer, you were discovered Crouching below a partition in the internal affairs office in an apparent attempt to overhear conversations. Aside from the propriety of such an action, it hardly instills trust and confidence in the Office of the Chief.
8. Without prior discussion with me or my administration, you ordered and/or authorized the removal of crime cameras from high-crime areas in Baton Rouge. You were clearly aware of the importance of the crime camera program and its use in high crime venues. Nevertheless, unexplainably and without any notice to this office, you ordered or at least tacitly authorized and allowed their removal. These cameras were not only effective but were instrumental in the City's fight against illicit drug deals and crime in those areas.
9. You refused to follow guidelines and recommendations regarding the preparation of City-Parish budgets, and you contradicted policy regarding the setting of two police academies.
10. Where a certain officer failed to meet the requirements of a recent cadet class, she resigned from that class. When the cadet personally complained to you, you re-hired her as a file clerk in the criminal records division, gave her back-pay, and paid her officer's scale, clearly violating several laws, policies and procedures. You ordered her paid for at least 2 weeks of work she did not earn. When confronted by my administration, you admitted that you had been unlawfully paying the individual as though she was an officer (rather than a file clerk). You were untruthful with my administration when you stated that you had disciplined the Academy Director for his handling of this situation. In addition, you made a $1,000 personal loan to the individual. (This loan, which was highly inappropriate, was made by you to your secretary; who you then asked to make" the loan to the individual.) Since that occurred, you were advised to cease communicating with the individual, but you have refused to comply and have continued communicating with her.
11. During an ongoing tactical negotiation with an emotionally disturbed person, you violated SRT policy and procedures by placing yourself in the position of an entry team member without having the benefit of training or equipment needed for such an incident. During the time of entry, it was unknown if the subject was armed or had a Weapon in his immediate reach. Your actions in this regard undermined the command structure, diverted the focus of entry team members, and increased the possibility of an unfavorable outcome.
12. You have knowingly ignored the actions of a certain officer who allegedly lied under oath at an administrative hearing at which you were present. To date, that officer has not been disciplined by you, and he remains in a supervisory position, though his untruthful actions are known by his subordinates.
13. You have made inflammatory public statements to the press wherein you inappropriately accused a large segment of the BRPD of racial bias in an apparent effort to curry favor with the press and certain public figures. You have wholly failed to substantiate these allegations.
14. It has been reported to me that after receiving Mr. Daniel's letter of February 6, you returned to your office and then went into the criminal records office and began shredding documents.
That which constitutes evidence of these allegations includes statements (written and/or oral) made by fellow officers, yourself, political figures in Baton Rouge, and members of the public; personnel records of yourself and certain officers; the collective bargaining agreement; BRPD policies; City-Parish records, including official records of the BRPD; recordings of administrative hearings; and shredded criminal records.
This list, as indicated above, is less than exhaustive, but rather merely examples of irrational and unacceptable behavior. 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. Your actions have left this office no other choice but to seriously consider accepting the recommendation of Mr. Daniel that you be permanently relieved of duty.
Melvin L. "Kip" Holden
cc: Mr. William Daniel
Murphy J. Foster, III
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